Men's Golf Prepares for Western Intercollegiate
April 5, 2018
SAN DIEGO – In its final tune-up before the Mountain West Championships, the San Diego State men’s golf team travels up the coast this weekend to compete in the 72nd installment of Western Intercollegiate, April 7-8, at the renowned Pasatiempo Golf Course in Santa Cruz, Calif.
The first 36 holes will be contested on Saturday, beginning with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. PT, while the final round is pegged for a Sunday completion on the scenic par-70, 6,615 layout.
Along with the No. 50 Aztecs, the elite field features 11 additional schools ranked among the top 80 in the latest Golfstat index, including California (9), Texas (14), Stanford (18), North Carolina (20), USC (21), Oregon (25), Pepperdine (32), Arizona (33), Colorado State (42), Washington (66) and UTEP (80). SDSU will also battle another Mountain West rival in tournament host San José State, while Hawai’i and UC Irvine round out the list of participating squads.
The Western Intercollegiate is a six-count-five event, with Blake Abercrombie (Rocklin, Calif.), Trevor Norby (Carlsbad, Calif.), PJ Samiere (Kailua, Hawaii), Pablo Matesanz (Irun, Spain), Puwit Anupansuebsai (Nakhon Phanom, Thailand) and Otto Vanhatalo (Espoo, Finland) comprising head coach Ryan Donovan's lineup card.
San Diego State is coming off an eighth-place result at the Bighorn Invitational in its last outing on March 24 in Palm Desert, Calif. The Aztecs shot an even-par 864 as a team at the inaugural event, finishing 13 strokes out of the top five, while Anupansuebsai tied for 25th on the individual leaderboard with a 1-under 215.
For the season, Samiere leads the team with a 71.41 scoring average and 17 rounds at or below par, while Abercrombie (72.38) ranks second, including 11 par-or-better rounds. The SDSU seniors are the only two players to start all 10 events for the Scarlet and Black this year, while Norby (73.71) and Anupansuebsai (73.96) have made eight appearances apiece.
Conversely, Matesanz (74.83) has cracked the starting lineup for the first time this season after playing four tournaments as an unattached golfer, while Vanhatalo (75.80) has five events under his belt this year, including two starts.
The Aztecs are making their eighth consecutive excursion to the Western Intercollegiate, but just their ninth since 2001. Last season’s venture to Santa Cruz was not kind for the Scarlet and Black, which landed in the 12th spot out of 15 teams with a combined score of 1109 (+59), finishing a distant 30 shots behind fifth-place Washington. Samiere is SDSU’s top returning starter from that venture, tying for 47th at 11-over 221, followed by Norby (T-71st, +16) and Abercrombie (T-74th, +17).
The Western Intercollegiate was launched 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 three top-10 individual finishes, USC (E) easily captured the team title by 18 strokes over second-place Stanford (+18) at last season’s tournament, while Oregon (+20), Pepperdine (+28) and Washington (+29) rounded out the top five.
USC’s Justin Suh, who captured medalist honors a year ago with a 5-under 205, returns to defend his crown, while co-runner-up Joshua McCarthy of Pepperdine (-1) is also back in the mix, along with Stanford’s Isaiah Salinda (T-5th, +1) and Bradley Knox (T-5th, +1), Oregon’s Norman Xiong (T-8th, +2) and UTEP’s Charles Corner (T-8th, +2).
Other top individuals who are expected to participate in the Western Intercollegiate include No. 1-ranked Collin Morikawa of Cal, No. 43 Scottie Scheffler of Texas, No. 50 Brandon Wu of Stanford, No. 54 Sahith Theegala of Pepperdine, No. 56 George Cunningham of Arizona, No. 66 Ryan Gronlund of Oregon, No. 69 Ryan Gerard of North Carolina and No. 74 Jeffery Swegle of Stanford.
Following this weekend’s tournament, the Aztecs will have two weeks to prepare for the Mountain West Championships, slated for April 20-22, at Gold Mountain Golf Course in Bremerton, Wash.