Kjellker and Anupansuebsai claim conference honors, make waves during senior seasons

San+Diego+State+womens+golf+senior+Sara+Kjellker+%28left%29+and+mens+golf+senior+Puwit+Anupansuebsai+swing+their+drivers+during+the+2021+season.

Courtesy of Derrick Tuskan, SDSU Athletics

San Diego State women’s golf senior Sara Kjellker (left) and men’s golf senior Puwit Anupansuebsai swing their drivers during the 2021 season.

by Kyle Betz and Breven Honda

San Diego State men’s and women’s golf have found a knack in finding talent from international players over the last decade.

That raw talent during the recruiting process turned into success, especially for two seniors this season.

The SDSU women’s season ended on May 12, as the Aztecs tied for 15th at 41-over-par 893 in the NCAA Stanford Regionals.

Standout senior Sara Kjellker tied for 18th in the competition to end her collegiate career, but that doesn’t take away from her 2021 accomplishments.

Kjellker’s season earned her Mountain West Women’s Golfer of the Year, becoming the third Aztec to win the honor since Christine Wong in 2012 and Emma Henrikson in 2016.

In an interview with the Mountain West, Kjellker said during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, she spent more time on the range to work on technique — something that helped her obtain the annual conference honor.

“I really felt like I took some big improvements in my game, in my swing and how I would hit the ball,” Kjellker said. “I think it’s super cool to be Player of the Year and it couldn’t have been done without my coaches and my teammates.”

Adding to an already strong resume, the Hollviken, Sweden native also claimed her third First-Team All-MWC selection (second in as many seasons).

This spring, Kjellker was the low scorer in five of the team’s six tournaments, highlighted by taking individual honors at the MWC Championships on April 21 at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. 

Furthermore, Kjellker also posted two tie-for-second finishes in individual play. 

Kjellker finished in a tie for runner-up at the Lamkin Invitation to begin the season on Feb. 9 and at The Bruzzy on March 29 at the Lantana Golf Course in Argyle, Texas.

At the Lamkin Invitational, which takes place at SDSU’s home course at The Farms Golf Course in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., Kjellker posted a 54-hole score of 1-under 215. 

A big part in scoring under par for the tournament was from a second round six-under 66, only one of two rounds Kjellker shot in the 60s this season with the other coming in the first round of the MWC Championships.

At the conference championships, Kjellker was tied at +1 after 54 holes. 

In the playoff, she and New Mexico sophomore Lauren Lehigh parred the first two holes on the par-5 18th and the par-4 10th. 

On the third playoff hole at the par 3 17th, things changed as Kjellker landed her shot on the green, en route to another par and the individual medal as Lehigh made bogey.

Kjellker became the third Aztec to win the MWC Individual Championship in the last four tournaments.

On the men’s side, senior Puwit Anupansuebsai wasn’t too shabby on the links, either.

Anupansuebsai was a catalyst in helping the Aztecs win two tournaments in 2021: the Southwestern Invitational on Jan. 25-27 and the Wyoming Cowboy Classic on April 5-6.

Anupansuebsai also made waves in the Mountain West Championships, as he took the first four-man playoff in MWC history. The Nakhon Phanom, Thailand native shot 7-under 209 to become the first SDSU men’s golfer individual champion since John Lepak in 2001.

Although the 2020 Mountain West Men’s Golfer of the Year was unable to repeat the honor in 2021, Anupansuebsai was named First-Team All-MWC for the third-straight year.

With work still left to do, Anupansuebsai will lead the No. 26-ranked Aztecs as a No. 5-seed at-large bid in the NCAA Regionals from May 17-19 in Tennessee.

Anupansuebsai’s success was also recently recognized on a wider scale: for the second-straight year, he will represent the international team in the Arnold Palmer Cup this June.

Anupansuebsai got hot late as he was the Aztecs’ low scorer in the final three tournaments.

In the 5-foot-3 senior’s first 12 rounds, he only had two rounds in the 60s. However, in the final nine rounds, he posted five rounds in the 60s and none higher than a 72.

In those final three tournaments, Anupansuebsai had a second place finish at the Wyoming Cowboy Classic, a tie for first place finish at the Western Intercollegiate on top of taking individual honors at the MWC Championships.

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