W. Golf Aiming for MW Title Next Week

Natalie Vivaldi and the Aztecs are gearing up for the MW Championship next week.
April 15, 2017

Live Results | Tournament Notes

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego State women's golf team will be seeking its second conference title in the last three years when it ventures to the Coachella Valley next week for the Mountain West Championship, April 17-19, in Rancho Mirage, Calif. The 54-hole event will be conducted at Mission Hills Country Club on the famed Dinah Shore Tournament Course, home of one of the LPGA Tour's majors, the ANA Inspiration, formerly known as the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

The nine-team field will play 18 holes on the par-72, 6,270-yard track each of the three days, following a practice round on Sunday. The Aztecs received the No. 2 seed are slated to tee off with No. 5 Nevada and No. 8 Wyoming in the second group on Monday, starting at 7:45 a.m. PT, while the pairings for the final two rounds with be based on team standings. A live scoring link will be available courtesy of Golfstat on GoAztecs.com.

The MW Championship returns to Mission Hills for the fifth straight season after a two-year run in 2011 and 2012 at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, Ariz., just outside of Phoenix. During the 2009 and 2010 campaigns, the event was held at the Black Horse Golf Club in Seaside, Calif., near Monterey. In the league's 18-year history, the championships have also been conducted in three other states: Oregon, Utah and New Mexico.

Aztec Lineup
Sixth-year San Diego State head coach Leslie Spalding will accompany five golfers to the Palm Springs region next week, featuring senior Sirene Blair (South Jordan, Utah), junior Georgia Lacey (Del Mar, Calif.), freshman Fernanda Escauriza (Asunción, Paraguay), junior Haleigh Krause, (Eugene, Ore.) and senior Natalie Vivaldi (Oceanside, Calif.).

Blair will be making her fourth and final appearance at the MW Championship, while Lacey finds herself in the thick of the fight for the third consecutive season. In addition, Krause will be competing at the conference tournament for the second year in a row, joining first-time participants Escauriza and Vivaldi.

Blair occupies the 50th spot nationally in the latest Golfstat Cup standings, while Lacey enters the week at No. 97. Similarly, a quick look at the most recent Golfweek rankings finds Blair at No. 58, while Lacey checks in at No. 84.

SDSU At The MW Championship
The Aztecs came up short in their quest for a second consecutive league title last year after finishing second at the 2016 Mountain West Championship. Despite shooting a collective 2-under 286 during the final round, a school record for 18 holes in a conference tournament, SDSU landed in the runner-up spot at 22-over 886, nine strokes behind champion UNLV.

In 2015, the Aztecs captured the first MW championship in program history after topping New Mexico by five shots. Despite falling on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff, Mila Chaves shattered the Aztec record for best individual score in a 54-hole league tournament after firing a 6-under 210, surpassing Jenna Wilson's total of 2-over 215 set in 2004. With her first-place tie in regulation, Chaves matched the finish of Christine Wong, who also lost on the fourth hole of a playoff in 2012.

In 15 previous installments of the MW tournament, SDSU has finished fifth on seven occasions, second three times, third and seventh twice, while placing fourth and sixth once each.

In 2014, the Aztecs landed in a three-way tie for third after occupying the fifth position in 2013. SDSU also posted back-to-back fifth-place performances in 2010 and 2011 to go along with another third-place effort in 2012. In addition, the Scarlet and Black wound up seventh in both 2008 and 2009, following a sixth-place result in 2007. The program was also fifth in 2003, 2005 and 2006, fourth in 2004 to go along with consecutive runner-up efforts in 2001 and 2002. The Aztecs were disqualified in the inaugural tournament in 2000, after two players turned in incorrect scorecards in the third and final round.

The Competition
Four of SDSU's opponents at the MW Championship are among the top 100 teams in the latest Golfstat rankings released April 12. SDSU is the highest rated squad in the field, landing in the 30th spot this week, while San José State checks in at No. 35, followed by defending champion UNLV (45), Fresno State (70) and Nevada (90). In addition, SDSU will lock horns with New Mexico (108), Colorado State (120), Wyoming (138) and Boise State (175), while the two remaining MW members, Air Force and Utah State, do not sponsor women's golf programs.

The Aztecs own a 12-5 record in head-to-head results against six conference foes during the 2016-17 campaign, including a 3-0 mark against San José State. SDSU also possesses an unblemished record this year vs.Colorado State (2-0) and Nevada (1-0), while maintaining the upper hand against New Mexico (3-1). In addition, the Scarlet and Black owns a 1-1 split against Fresno State, but has come out on the wrong side in three of four previous encounters with UNLV this season and has not faced Boise State or Wyoming.

Individually, eight of the top-10 finishers return from last year's conference championship, including medalist Alexandra Kaui of UNLV, who emerged with a five-stroke victory over Colorado State's Katrina Prendergast, while Rebel teammate Mackenzie Raim took fourth. SDSU's Sirene Blair (5th) is also back in the mix, joining SJSU's Abegail Arevalo (6th) and UNLV's Harley Dubsky (T-7th), along with Fresno State's Guðrun Björgsvindóttir (T-7th) and Kristin Simonsen (T-10th).

San José State senior My Leander, who enters the week as the top-ranked golfer in the MW, is also expected to contend, along with fellow teammate Franziska Friedrich, UNLV's Elizabeth Prior and Alyssa Getty, SDSU's Georgia Lacey and Natalie Vivaldi, as well as Nevada's Mari Nishiura and Fresno State's Mimi Ho, all of whom are among the league's top 15 players in Golfstat's latest head-to-head rankings.

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