SDSU Men's Golf Readies for 10th Straight NCAA West Regional Appearance

May 13, 2008


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* For the 10th consecutive year and the 13th time in program history, the San Diego State men's golf team has earned an invitation to the NCAA regional tournament. The Aztecs are seeded 11th out of 27 teams in the West Regional, which will be contested May 15-17 on the 7,111-yard, par-72, Olympic Course at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash.

SDSU, ranked 37th in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin ratings, is among 81 NCAA Division I schools selected to play in one of three regional tournaments. The other regionals will take place concurrently in Columbus, Ohio, (Central) and Chattanooga, Tenn., (East) and will also include 27 teams and six individual qualifiers each.

The three-day tournament features 18 holes of stroke play each day starting at 7 a.m. PT. The top 10 teams and two individuals on non-advancing teams will move on from each regional to the championship finals.

SDSU will be paired with Arizona State and Texas during the first two rounds. The teams will begin on the 10th tee at 12:35 p.m. on Thursday and will start at the first tee at 8:05 a.m. on Friday. Saturday's final round tee times will be based on the team standings through the first 36 holes. A live scoring link will be available on the home page of

San Diego State is seeking its 25th trip to the national championships in school history and its fourth since the inception of the regional format in 1989. The Scarlet and Black has advanced to the championship series three times (1999, 2003 and 2005) under the regional-qualifying format.

The 2008 NCAA Championships will be held May 28-31 on the 7,465-yard, par-72 Kampen Course at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex in West Lafayette, Ind.

* A total of 27 teams from 10 different conferences comprise this year's West Regional, including eight schools from the Pac-10 and four from the Big 12. San Diego State and UNLV are the lone representatives from the Mountain West Conference after league champion Colorado State and TCU were placed in the East and Central Regionals, respectively.

The Aztecs have played 17 of the 26 other teams in the West Regional field during the 2007-08 season, compiling a 29-18-1 overall record in head-to head competition, while maintaining a winning mark against 11 of those squads. In the three regionals combined, SDSU has faced 34 of 80 schools, posting a 46-30-1record.

Individually, the NCAA West Regional boasts seven of the top 15 ranked players in the nation, according to the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index released May 4. Heading the list is third-ranked Kevin Chappell of UCLA, followed by USC's Jamie Lovemark (4th), Jonas Blixt of Florida State, USC's Rory Hie (8th), Sihwan Kim of Stanford (11th), Boise State's Troy Merritt (13th), who will be competing as an individual and Kevin O'Connell of North Carolina (15th).

* Head coach Ryan Donovan will put his trust in the same quintet that has propelled the Scarlet and Black throughout the spring. Sitting atop the Aztecs' ladder is senior extraordinaire Aaron Goldberg (Encinitas, Calif.), who will be joined by fellow classmate Chad Moscovic (Stockton, Calif.), junior David Palm (Landvetter, Sweden) and freshmen deluxe Johan Carlsson (Gothenburg, Sweden) and Matt Hoffenberg (Simi Valley, Calif.). Goldberg leads the squad with an overall stroke average of 71.41, followed closely by Hoffenberg (71.89), Carlsson (72.73) and Palm (72.91), while Moscovic (75.48) ranks sixth on the team.

Goldberg will be making his third West Regional appearance, while Moscovic and Palm gear up for their second starts each. Last season in Tempe, Ariz., Moscovic posted the Aztecs' lowest score of the final two rounds, while a stomach ailment forced Goldberg to withdraw after the second round. In 2006, Palm and Goldberg were SDSU's top finishers at the regional in Tucson, Ariz., as both players carded a 2-under 214 to tie for 46th.

* SDSU is hoping that familiarity breeds success this week as the Aztec regional starters return to Gold Mountain Golf Club for the second time this season. The same five golfers also made the trip to the Evergreen State last October for the rain-shortened Husky Invitational, where the Scarlet and Black tied for fifth out of 13 teams after shooting a collective 21-over-par 597. Johan Carlsson paced the Aztecs with a 3-over 147 for tournament, tying for 12th out of 69 golfers on the individual leaderboard. David Palm and Matt Hoffenberg each tied for the 20th spot at 6-over 150, while Aaron Goldberg was one shot back at 7-over 151 to tie for 24th.

* Located approximately 60 miles west of Seattle on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain Club has garnered a host of awards since opening in 1996. In 2006, Golf Digest gave the course a 4.5-star rating in the publication's seventh edition of "Best Places to Play." The magazine also voted it the second-best value in the United States in 2005 behind Bethpage Black on New York's Long Island. Owned by the city of Bremerton, the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain Golf Club was designed by John Harbottle III of Tacoma, Wash., and has served as the host course for the 2006 U.S. Amateur Public Links, the 2007 Washington State Amateur, U.S. Open Section qualifying, as well as several editions of the annual Husky Invitational.

* Since the NCAA regional tournaments began in 1989, SDSU has received a bid 13 times, including its current streak of 10 straight from 1999 to 2008.

The Aztecs have placed in the top 10 on three occasions, with their best finish coming in 1999 when the team came in fifth after carding a combined 11-over 875 at the Omni Tucson National Golf Resort. The lowest team score in regional competition for SDSU occurred in 2005 when it posted a 20-over 860 en route to a seventh-place tie at Stanford Golf Course.

That same season, Gilberto Rodriguez recorded the best individual finish by an Aztec when he tied for sixth after firing an even-par 210, which is lowest 54-hole total at a regional in school history. The best single round by an SDSU golfer at an NCAA regional was logged by Magnus Carlsson, who shot a 6-under 66 in 1999.

* The Aztecs missed out on a berth in the NCAA championship series for the second year in a row after finishing 24th out of 27 teams at the 2007 West Regionals in Tempe, Ariz. SDSU was never in contention to grab one of the top 10 spots for the right to advance, carding a 20-over 884 on rounds of 296-289-299 at the 7,057-yard, par-72 Karsten Golf Course on the campus of Arizona State University.

South Carolina claimed the West Regional title after posting a combined 44-under 820 to overtake runner-up UCLA (822) on the final day of competition by two strokes. Individually, Benjamin Alvarado of host school Arizona State captured medalist honors with a blistering 18-under 198, beating out a trio of golfers by three shots.

Adam Porzak was the Aztecs' top finisher for the tournament at 3-over 219, climbing six spots into a tie for 97th after shooting an even-par 72 over the final 18 holes. Cory Segall rebounded from a dreadful opening-day 81 to post back-to-back totals of 70 and 71, the Aztecs' lowest scores of the second and third rounds, respectively, en route to a 6-over 222.

Jamie Puterbaugh also showed improvement on the third day, shaving seven strokes off his second round score for a 3-over 74 to finish at 231. Chad Moscovic suffered a reversal of fortune, however, tumbling from the 68th spot into a tie for 121st on the heels of a final-round 82. Unable to complete his final round due to a stomach ailment, Aaron Goldberg withdrew from the competition.

* Aaron Goldberg shot a combined 1-under 212 on rounds of 67-75-70 to finish in a three-way tie for second on the individual leaderboard at the MWC Championships, April 24-26, in Tucson, Ariz. As a team, the Aztecs found themselves mired in seventh place after opening the three-day tournament with rounds of 289 and 296. Despite shooting the second-lowest team score over the final 18 holes at 2-over 286, SDSU was unable to move up in the standings, remaining in the seventh spot with a collective 19-over 871.

After stumbling to an atypical 75 during the second round, Goldberg displayed his trademark consistency over the final 18 holes, notching two birdies with just one bogey to vault five places into the runner-up position along with Colorado State's Riley Arp and Robbie Fillmore of Brigham Young. With his effort, Goldberg landed in the top five for the sixth time in 13 events this season en route to tying his highest finish of the year. UNLV's Eddie Olson held on to his second-round lead, shooting a final-round 70 to walk away with medalist honors at 4-under 209.

Freshman Matt Hoffenberg also demonstrated upward mobility, trimming four shots off his second-round score to finish the afternoon at even-par 71. With his round, the Aztec lefty climbed six spots into a tie for 26th at 7-over 220. Fellow classmate Johan Carlsson, who tied for second among the 45-golfer field with 11 birdies for the tournament, had his putter working once again during the final round as the Gothenburg, Sweden, native added four more circles to his scorecard en route a 1-over 72. Despite three bogeys and a double-bogey, Carlsson still managed his eighth top-20 showing in 13 starts this year after finishing in a tie for 14th at 3-over 216.

Junior David Palm completed the scoring for the Scarlet and Black as the Landvetter, Sweden, product tied for the 38th position with a combined 13-over 226. Palm played bogey-free golf over his final 13 holes to finish the day with a 2-over 73.

Colorado State was the only team to break par over the final 18 holes, shooting a collective 4-under 278 to finish the championships at 2-under 850, vaulting over second-round leaders TCU (+2) and Brigham Young (+5) for the team title. Meanwhile, UNLV (+7) and Utah (+16) placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

* Aaron Goldberg, Matt Hoffenberg and David Palm were each selected to the 2007-08 all-Mountain West Conference team following the league championships. SDSU also captured both individual awards as Goldberg was named the MWC golfer of the year, while Hoffenberg was voted the league's top freshman. The selections marked just the second time in the nine-year history of the MWC that two individual honorees came from the same school. In 2005, UNLV's Ryan Moore was recognized as the conference's top player, while teammate Jarred Texter received freshman of the year accolades.

Goldberg, who ranks second in the MWC with a 71.41 stroke average, has recorded nine finishes within the top-10 during the 2007-08 campaign and is a three-time all-conference performer. The La Costa Canyon High alumnus is also the third Aztec to garner the league's top honor after Lars Johansson (2001) and John Lieber (2002).

Hoffenberg sits right behind Goldberg on the MWC individual leaderboard in third place with a 71.89 scoring average. The talented lefty has four top-10 finishes to his credit this season en route to becoming the first MWC freshman of the year honoree to don the Scarlet and Black.

Palm, meanwhile, enjoyed a successful return to the lineup in 2007-08, posting a 72.91 stroke average and three top-10 finishes after undergoing back surgery last season. The all-league recognition was the second for Palm, who garnered second-team all-Southern Conference accolades while capturing freshmen of the year honors at Georgia Southern in 2005. Along with Goldberg and Hoffenberg, Palm's selection gave SDSU three all-MWC golfers for the first time in the same season since the league's inception in 1999-2000.

* Aaron Goldberg was one of eight players named to the 2008 Palmer Cup as announced by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) on April 21. The annual competition, featuring the top collegiate golfers from the United States against their European counterparts, will be played June 26-27 in a Ryder Cup-style format at the Glasgow Golf Club's 6,903-yard, par-71 Gailes Links in Irvine, Scotland.

Joining Goldberg on the Palmer Cup squad will be UCLA's Kevin Chappell, Derek Fathauer of Louisville, Oklahoma State's Rickie Fowler, Chesson Hadley of Georgia Tech, Florida's Billy Horschel, Adam Mitchell of Georgia and Alabama's Michael Thompson. Stanford head coach Conrad Ray will serve as the team's captain.

The United States holds a 6-4-1 lead in the series dating back to 1997, including an 18-6 triumph last year at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md. The Americans, however, have lost the last two times the event has been held in Europe.

In addition, Goldberg was one of 20 Division I golfers named to the 2008 Jack Nicklaus Award watch list as announced by the GCAA on April 8. The Nicklaus Award is presented to the player of the year in NCAA Divisions I, II and III, as well as the NAIA.

The Nicklaus Award recipients will be named immediately following the final round of each respective national championship. All four Nicklaus Award honorees will be invited to Muirfield Village for the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Morgan Stanley at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, just outside Nicklaus' hometown of Columbus to receive their trophies from Mr. Nicklaus. Additionally, a 20-player All-Nicklaus Team - which will include outstanding players from NCAA Divisions I, II and III and the NAIA - will be named June 10.

HEAD COACH Ryan Donovan
* Armed with a new three-year contract, San Diego State alumnus Ryan Donovan is now in his fifth season as the leader of the Aztec men's golf program. With Donovan at the helm, SDSU captured three tournament titles in 2007-08 en route to its 10th straight NCAA regional appearance. Overall, the Aztecs have compiled a 138-35-1 head-to-head record so far this season and are currently ranked 37th the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings. Under Donovan's tutelage, SDSU had three of its players named to the all-MWC squad for the first time in school history. He also coached Aaron Goldberg to one of the program's finest seasons as the Aztec senior notched six top-5 finishes en route to earning MWC golfer of the year honors. Another star in the making is Matt Hoffenberg, who blossomed during his rookie campaign in Donovan's system, becoming the first SDSU golfer to capture MWC freshman of the year accolades.

The 2006-07 season was equally impressive as Donovan guided the Scarlet and Black to three tournament victories and a berth in the NCAA regionals, while coaching Goldberg to seven top-5 finishes, including medalist honors at the District 7 Fall Shootout. For his efforts, Goldberg was named to the all-MWC squad and received honorable mention PING All-America accolades, the program's first such award since 2001.

Donovan also witnessed tremendous success during the 2005-06 campaign, leading the Aztecs to three team tournament wins and their eighth consecutive NCAA regional appearance. Three SDSU golfers - seniors Andrew Scott and Josh Warthen and sophomore David Palm - all claimed individual titles during the season, while Scott and Goldberg garnered all-MWC honors.

Prior to coaching at SDSU, Donovan was a four-year member of the Aztec golf squad and returned to his alma mater after a stint in the professional ranks.

Donovan competed for the Aztecs from 1997-2001. His most successful season came as a junior when he posted five, top-30 finishes. During his senior year, Donovan shot a career-best 4-under 212 at the Aztec Invitational, placing second overall and helping SDSU to the tournament title.

Donovan also has national experience on his playing résumé. He qualified for the U.S. Amateur in 1996 and 1999, and also played in the British Amateur in 2001 before turning pro. He then competed on the Golden State Tour in 2001 and the Gateway Tour in 2002.

A native of Yorba Linda, Calif., Donovan was a four-time all-Sunset League performer at Esperanza High School and was named first-team all-Orange County his senior season. Donovan graduated with a degree in public administration and currently resides in San Diego.

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