Men's Golf Preparing for Western Intercollegiate
April 5, 2017
SAN DIEGO – In its final tune-up before the Mountain West Championship, the 32nd-ranked San Diego State men’s golf team will venture up the coast this weekend to compete in the 71st edition of the Western Intercollegiate, April 8-9, at the historic par-70, 6,615-yard Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, Calif.
The 15-team field will play 36 holes on Saturday, before completing the tournament with an 18-hole final round on Sunday. A live scoring link courtesy of Golfstat will be available on GoAztecs.com.
Along with the Aztecs, the elite competition features 11 additional schools ranked among the top 75 in the latest Golfstat index, including No. 1 USC, No. 7 Stanford, No. 9 Oregon, No. 17 Texas, No. 25 Arizona State, No. 29 Pepperdine, No. 33 Washington, No. 58 UTEP, No. 66 UCLA, No. 68 California and No. 72 Arizona. In addition, SDSU will battle tournament host and Mountain West foe San José State, while Hawai’i and UC Irvine round out the list of competing teams.
The Western Intercollegiate is a six-count-five event, with Nahum Mendoza III (San Diego, Calif.), PJ Samiere (Kailua, Hawaii), Blake Abercrombie (Rocklin, Calif.), Gunn Yang (Pyeongchang, South Korea), Trevor Norby (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Brian Song (Beverly Hills, Calif.) comprising head coach Ryan Donovan’s lineup card.
The Aztecs are making their seventh straight appearance at the Western Intercollegiate, but just their eighth since 2001. Last season, SDSU took seventh with a combined score of 1075 (+25), finishing 10 shots behind fifth-place Pepperdine. Mendoza is the team’s top returner from last year’s tournament, where he tied for 16th at 2-over 212, while Abercrombie landed in the 33rd position at 7-over 217, followed by Song (T-49th, +11) and Yang (T-67th, +16). In addition, Samiere saw action last season as an individual at Pasatiempo, tying for 33rd as well.
SDSU is coming off a fourth-place performance in its last outing at the Duck Invitational, where it posted a 16-over 868 to finish 24 shots in back of tournament host and champion Oregon. Individually, the Aztecs were paced by Abercrombie and Yang, who tied for 10th at 1-over 214, while Mendoza (+5) wound up in the 21st position, followed by Samiere (+13), who tied for 56th.
Samiere tops the Aztecs with a 71.96 scoring average so far this season and has been the squad’s No. 1 golfer in three events, including two runner-up placements last fall at the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate and the Saint Mary’s Invitational, where he led the Scarlet and Black to a pair of team titles. In addition, Abercrombie occupies the second spot on the roster with a 72.03 stroke average, highlighted by a pair of top-10 efforts. Last month, the SDSU junior matched his career-high finish with a second-place tie at the Lamkin San Diego Classic, where he shot a 6-under 210 to earn Mountain West Men’s Golfer of the Week honors.
Meanwhile, Mendoza (72.19) has four top-10s to his credit this season, including a third-place tie at The Prestige at PGA WEST in February. Last fall, the Aztec senior tied for fourth at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational, where he fired a career-best 13-under 200, which is tied for sixth on the school’s all-time charts for 54 holes. The aforementioned trio has appeared in all nine tournaments for SDSU this year, while Yang (73.12) will be making his fourth straight start this spring and seventh of the season.
The Western Intercollegiate was established in 1947 and is the oldest running men’s college golf tournament west of the Mississippi River. Lars Johansson is the most recent SDSU individual champion at the event, capturing medalist honors in 2001 after defeating Jason Higton of Pacific on the first hole of a sudden death playoff. In addition, Kris Moe emerged victorious at the Western in 1983, while Ron O’Connor accomplished the feat in 1960, guiding the Aztecs to their only team title in the history of the event.
Other notable winners of the Western Intercollegiate include Ken Venturi (1951, 1953), Johnny Miller (1968), Howard Twitty (1972), Peter Jacobsen (1974), Mark O’Meara (1978), Bobby Clampett (1980), Duffy Waldorf (1984), Arron Oberholser (1996), Joel Kribel (1997, 1999) and Jason Allred (2000).
Bolstered by Maverick McNealy’s medal-winning effort of 16-under 194, Stanford (-9) captured the team title by 10 strokes over second-place USC (+1) at last year’s event, while Oregon (+9), California (+12) and Pepperdine (+15) rounded out the top five. McNealy returns to defend his crown, while USC’s Rico Hoey, Andrew Levitt and Jonah Texeira, who each tied for fourth last season at 2-under, are likely back in the mix as well.
Following this weekend’s tournament, the Aztecs will have 12 days to prepare for the Mountain West Championship, slated for April 21-23, at the OMNI Tucson National Resort in Tucson, Ariz.