May 9, 2003
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Men's Golf Returns To Regional
The San Diego State University men's golf team will return to NCAA regional competition next week in the Pacific Northwest. The appearance marks the fifth straight and the sixth time in eight years that the Aztecs have advanced to postseason. The tournament will be held May 15th-17th, in Auburn, Wash.
The Washington National Golf Club will be the site of the 2003 regional. The course is a par 72 7,183-yard layout located in Auburn, Wash. It will serve as the site for this year's regional and will be hosted by the University of Washington.
In the West regional, 27 teams have qualified for competition with the top 10 finishers advancing to the NCAA Championships in late May in Stillwater, Okla. San Diego State enters as the 10th seed in the event and for the third straight year figures to be in the hunt for a trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Aztecs have had final-day woes the last two years and missed an invite to the NCAA Championship. SDSU did qualify for nationals in 1999. The Aztecs finished 12th in 2001 and tied for 10th last season.
Since the NCAA went to the regional qualifying tournaments in 1989, San Diego State has made seven previous appearances. The 2003 tournament will mark SDSU's fifth straight regional competition. Only once, in 1999, has San Diego State advanced from regional play into the national tournament. San Diego State has appeared in 22 national-championship tournaments with 21 coming prior to the regional qualifying tournament.
San Diego State enters the 27-team field as the 10th seed with the top 10 finishers advancing to the national-championship tournament. Pac 10 champion UCLA is the top seed, followed by UNLV, Arizona, Georgia, Arizona State, Washington, New Mexico, Southern California, Pepperdine and SDSU. The rest of the field includes Cal, Fresno State, UC Irvine, Brigham Young, Colorado State, UTEP, Denver, Oregon, Austin Peay, Stanford, Oregon State, Old Dominion, Xavier, Oral Roberts, Navy, Central Connecticut State and Loyola-Maryland.
Aztecs Against The World
San Diego State is 37-32-3 against the rest of the regional field, including a 3-6 mark against the top two seeded teams of UCLA and UNLV. The Aztecs finished in front of the Rebels in last week's Mountain West Championship when the Aztecs tied for second with Brigham Young. SDSU has finished second in the league tournament twice in the last three years.
San Diego State's best regional performance came in 1999 when the squad finished fifth in the west with a score of 875. The best score was an 871 in 1990 but that resulted with a 13th-place finish and was nine shots from the final national-qualifying spot. SDSU's Mark Warman was eighth last season in the individual race and advanced to the NCAA Championship as an individual.
A Year Ago
Last year SDSU suffered through a tough finish at the regional tournament in Albuquerque, N.M. After firing a 289 and standing in third place after the first round, the Aztecs shot 296 and 297 on the final two days. The Aztecs ended in a tie with Texas Tech for the 10th and final spot and lost a one-hole playoff to the Red Raiders. New Mexico and Washington shared the West regional crown last season.
San Diego State is coming off a solid if not spectacular effort in the Mountain West Tournament. The Aztecs ended the tournament with an even-par team score of 864. The score was good enough for second place (tie with BYU), nine shots behind first-time champion New Mexico. SDSU's highest individual finish was Lars Johansson at fourth. He set a Mountain West Championship tournament record with a 67 in the opening round and finished play with a four-under 212.
San Diego State enters the NCAA regional after completing a fall and spring that saw the Aztecs finish in the top 10 of 10 tournaments. San Diego State claimed the title of the Barona Collegiate Cup that it hosted in October. San Diego State had a pair of runner-up finishes, including the Mountain West Tournament and the John Burns Intercollegiate in Hawaii.
The Aztecs finished third at both the U.S. Intercollegiate, hosted by Stanford, and the Border Olympics, hosted by Texas A&M. San Diego State has finished third or better in three of its last four tournaments.
The "All" Guys
Two Aztecs were named to the 2003 all- Mountain West Conference team, announced during the final round of the league tournament. Lars Johansson was named to the all-league team for the second time after he was named league player of the year as a sophomore. He is also an all-Mountain West academic selection. Mark Warman was also selected to the team. It marked the third straight season that Warman was named to the all-league team.
* - After coming close several times last year, junior Mark Warman (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente HS) claimed the first individual title of his collegiate career by coming from two strokes back after the second round to earn medalist honors at the U.S. Intercollegiate. Warman (206, -7), who finished second on three different occasions in his all-MWC 2001-02 sophomore season, followed up his school- and course-record 62 in the second round with a final-round 73 to take a one-shot win.
* - Warman's performance, the third individual title of the season for an Aztec, sparked San Diego State to a third-place team finish in its final tune-up before the Mountain West Conference tournament. The Aztecs (851, -1) finished just a stroke out of second place and behind the two highest-ranked teams in the field - UCLA (No. 11 Golfweek/No. 5 Golfstat), which claimed the team title at 12-under 840, and No. 8/6 Oklahoma State, which SDSU led by two shots in second place after the second round.
* - SDSU was still able to claim head-to-head wins over three higher-ranked teams from the Golfstat ratings - No. 28 UC Irvine (6th, 859), No. 31 California (11th, 873) and No. 36 Fresno State (4th, 853). All three of those teams will be in the West region.
* - Warman's title is all the more impressive when considering the 90-golfer individual field he was up against. Warman (No. 182 Golfweek) defeated 31 of the nation's top 250-rated golfers according to Golfweek, 11 of them rated among the top 100 including No. 2 Hunter Mahan of Oklahoma State (4th, 208, -5) and No. 5 Nick Watney of Fresno State (15th, 213, E).
* - Joining Warman in the top 10 was sophomore Aaron Choi (San Diego, Calif./Torrey Pines HS), who registered his career best and the low Aztec score of the day with a 5-under 66. Choi finished in a tie for ninth place at 2-under 211, his best career result as a starter.
* - After a difficult junior year and a fall season in which he played in only two events, senior Lars Johansson (Karlskrona, Sweden) has picked up his play this spring and bolstered the Aztec lineup with another low scoring threat. After playing to a 73.37 stroke average last year, Johansson has returned to the form that earned him MWC Golfer of the Year and honorable mention All-American honors after his sophomore season.
* - Johansson claimed the third individual title of his collegiate career by firing an 8-under 208 to take medallist honors at the John A. Burns Intercollegiate at Leilehua Golf Course in Wahiawa, Hawaii. Johansson, who was tied for 50th after a first-round 74, shot 66-68 and came from three shots back after 36 holes to win his first title since the second of back-to-back wins in the spring of his Mountain West Conference Golfer of the Year season in 2000-01.
* - Johansson has played in 6-of-7 spring events and recorded three top-10s, including a fourth-place result at the April 4-5 Border Olympics (70-67-74-211, -5) and a fourth-place finish in the recently completed Mountain West Tournament (67-72-73-212, -4)... He has nine scores of par or better among his 24 rounds, including five rounds in the 60s... Had the team's lowest scoring average in the fall (72.50) but played in only two events... Boasts an .833 count percentage for the season, with 20 of his 24 rounds in the Aztec lineup counting among the low four... Second on the team in stroke average for both the season (72.38) and the spring (72.33) and the lowest on the team in the spring-only stats... Four top-20s in eight events this season...He set a Mountain West record with his opening round 67 last week.
Around The Green
* - Five different Aztec individuals have won titles this season: Mark Warman at the U.S. Intercollegiate, Gilberto Rodriguez at the April 15-16 Wyoming Cowboy Classic, Andrew Scott at the March 10-11 Southern California Intercollegiate, Lars Johansson at the John Burns Intercollegiate and John Lepak at the Barona Collegiate Cup. Warman, Rodriguez and Scott won their first career titles, while Lepak has two and Johansson holds three.
* - Based on this season's results, SDSU may boast the deepest team in the country. All 10 players on the Aztec roster who competed this season now possess at least one top-five finish this season, and SDSU individuals hold 39 top-20s in 16 total events (including five in which the JV team competed). In another testament to the squad's depth, three of the five Aztecs who have won medallist honors this year are not in the postseason lineup.