SDSU Men's Golf Travels to Oregon This Week to Cap Off Busy Month

March 22, 2008


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* The San Diego State men's golf team concludes its hectic month this week when it heads to the Pacific Northwest for the Oregon Duck Invitational, March 24-25, in Creswell, Ore. The first two rounds of the 54-hole event will be contested on Monday, while the final 18 holes are slated for Tuesday. Both days will feature an 8 a.m. PDT shotgun start at the 7,093-yard, par-72 Emerald Valley Golf Club.

The Aztecs will square off against 10 other schools, five of which are ranked in the top 60, according to the latest Golfweek/Sagarin performance index released March 17. San Diego State is the highest-ranked team in the tournament, checking in at No. 35, followed by Arkansas (36), Oregon State (41), host Oregon (51) and Washington (60). Rounding out the list of competitors are Idaho, Northern Colorado, Pacific, Portland, UC Davis and Washington State.

The Aztecs will be making their 10th straight appearance at the Oregon Duck Invitational. SDSU has a history of success in the tournament, capturing team titles in 2001, 2004 and 2006, while posting a runner-up finish in 2005. Jeff Hansen (-5, 211) took home medalist honors as a sophomore at the 2004 edition for the Scarlet and Black's highest individual finish in the event since 1999.

* Head coach Ryan Donovan will employ the same lineup for the fourth consecutive tournament as five Aztec golfers make the trek northward. Heading the list is senior extraordinaire Aaron Goldberg, who will be joined by fellow classmate Chad Moscovic, junior David Palm and freshmen deluxe Johan Carlsson and Matt Hoffenberg. Goldberg leads the squad with a 70.80 stroke average, followed closely by Palm (71.55), Hoffenberg (71.61) and Carlsson (72.36), while Moscovic (75.95) ranks sixth on the team.

Of the group, Goldberg, Moscovic and Palm have playing experience at the Oregon Duck Invitational. Goldberg's best finish in three appearances came as a sophomore in 2006, when he led the Aztecs to the team championship after tying for third on the individual leaderboard at 4-under 214. Moscovic, a two-time participant, ended up in a tie for 31st last season at 9-over 225 for his best finish, while Palm tied for 20th after shooting a 3-over 219 in his only Oregon start in 2006.

* Situated on 170 acres just south of Eugene, Emerald Valley Golf Club is one of the premier championship public golf courses in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Nestled by the gently flowing coast fork of the Willamette River, the course enjoys a very mature landscape and is known for its lush, tree-lined fairways, fast and consistent greens and tournament-quality conditions.

Recently re-designed by Oregon architect Dan Hixson, Emerald Valley Golf Club posseses the best challenge, beauty, and rolling terrain in the Willamette Valley. In 2004, Emerald Valley was named the Oregon Golf Association's Course of the Year.

* After capturing back-to-back team titles at the Callaway Invitational and Lexus Classic, San Diego State came away with a disappointing ninth-place finish at the 2007 Oregon Duck Invitational in Eugene, Ore. The Aztecs carded a 29-over 893 for the tournament after firing a 10-over-par 298 on the final day of competition at the 7,033-yard, par-72 Eugene Country Club. USC finished atop the team standings with a combined 4-over 868, followed by Oregon State (+10), Arizona and host school Oregon (+11) and Stanford (+16).

After completing the first two rounds just five strokes off the pace, Jamie Puterbaugh and Aaron Goldberg stumbled over the final 18 holes as both players shot a 3-over 75 to finish in a tie for 17th place with a combined 5-over 221. Despite the turn of events, Puterbaugh managed his second top-20 effort of the spring, while Goldberg kept his streak of top-20 performances alive through nine straight tournaments.

SDSU's best score of the final round was turned in by Chad Moscovic and Adam Porzak as both golfers carded a 2-over 74. Moscovic climbed seven spots on the individual leaderboard after tying for 31st with a 9-over 225. Porzak, meanwhile, improved by 10 places after finishing in a tie for 36th at 226, just one shot behind his Aztec teammate.

Rounding out the San Diego State lineup was Cory Segall (+23, 239) and junior Ryan Citarella (+30, 246), who finished in the 67th and 71st positions, respectively.

With wind and rain affecting play, just three players completed the tournament in red figures as Washington's Alex Prugh, Kevin Chappell of UCLA and USC's Jamie Lovemark each finished with a 2-under 214 to share medalist honors.

* Following the Oregon Duck Invitational, San Diego State gets two weeks off before returning to the fairways for the ASU Thunderbird Invitational, April 11-13, at the 7,057-yard, par-72 Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz. At last year's tournament, the Aztecs were led by Aaron Goldberg, who finished alone in fourth place at 6-under 207.

* San Diego State saved its best for last on March 18, posting a spring-low 15-under-par 273 during the final round of the Barona Collegiate Cup at the 7,393, par-72 Barona Creek Golf Club. Playing in its third home tournament of the season, the Aztecs took control of second place in the team standings after finishing with a combined 17-under 847 at the seventh annual event. Texas A&M (-37) comfortably led the 12-team field wire-to-wire, while San Diego (-13) settled for third, followed by Oklahoma State (-11) and SMU (-4).

Individually, David Palm carded a 3-under 69 to tie for the runner-up spot with Texas A&M's Andrea Pavan at 9-under 207, just three shots in back of another Aggie golfer, Nacho Elvira, who took home medalist honors. Palm entered the day with a share of the lead, but was unable to keep pace with Elvira despite sinking four birdies on the back nine. Still, the Landvetter, Sweden, native notched his highest finish of the year and second-best as an Aztec since winning the Club Glove Intercollegiate in the fall of 2005.

Aaron Goldberg made a charge up the leaderboard during the final round, climbing three spots into a tie for sixth at 7-under 209. The La Costa Canyon High alumnus equaled his second-best round of the spring after draining five birdies over the final 18 holes en route to a 5-under 67. With a bogey-free scorecard in hand, Goldberg recorded his fifth straight top-seven finish and also produced his team-leading ninth round in the 60s this season.

The biggest jump of the day, however, belonged to Matt Hoffenberg, who vaulted into the 17th position at 1-under 215 after completing play on Monday in a tie for 43rd. Despite an illness, the Simi Valley, Calif., product got off to a blistering start, notching six birdies over his first 10 holes to go along with an eagle at No. 17 en route to a 7-under 65. With his performance, Hoffenberg posted a tournament and collegiate best and is now tied for third on SDSU's all-time list for lowest 18-hole score.

Rounding out the scoring for the Scarlet and Black was Johan Carlsson, who fired an even-par 72 during the final round to finish in a tie for 30th.

* Aaron Goldberg was named the Mountain West Conference men's golfer of the month for January/February as announced by the league office on Feb. 29. The Aztec senior earned his first monthly honor of the 2007-08 season and the fourth of his career, becoming just the third player to have won the award at least four times since the conference's inception in 1999.

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