Aztecs finish fourth at Southwestern Intercollegiate Tournament

by Rafael Avitabile, Staff Writer

The San Diego State men’s golf team finished in fourth place at the Southwestern Intercollegiate Tournament on Tuesday. The tournament, co-hosted by Pepperdine Univeristy and the University of Southern California, was held at North Ranch Country Club in Westlake Village, California.

At about midway through the first round, SDSU was seated as low as 10th place out of the 12 teams in the field. They did well to climb out of the trenches, though, settling in at fourth place by the end of Monday’s 36-hole marathon. The Aztecs held their fourth place post through the final round, finishing at a combined 24 shots over par.

“We have a very solid team with good depth,” head coach Ryan Donovan said. “We made some poor course management decisions. It’s early in the season and I know we will improve.”

The par-3’s of North Ranch proved to be too much to handle for SDSU, finishing second to last in the field with a scoring average of 3.55 strokes over par on those holes.

Stanford University, ranked third in the country by, won the tournament with its score of 4 under par. The Cardinal put on an absolute clinic, finishing ahead of the second place team, 25th ranked USC, by 15 strokes.

On an individual level, the Aztecs had their highs and lows. For a brief moment, senior James Holley held sole possession of first place late in round one. He finished round one at 2- under par in a tie for fourth, just three strokes off the lead. Unfortunately, his swing abandoned him in round two.

Holley opened up the second round with a double bogey on the first hole and could never right the ship, carding a 10 over 81. His 6-over back nine featured a triple bogey on the 416-yard par-4 14th hole. Holley’s second-round miscues set him back quite a bit, dropping him into a tie for 26th at 9-over for the tournament.

The lowest scoring Aztec was freshman PJ Samiere from Kailua, Hawaii who finished the 54 hole bout in fifth place at 1-over par. Samiere started his college golf career in fine fashion, earning a top-5 finish in his first event as an Aztec.

Samiere didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard, but his consistency through his first two rounds kept him in good shape. After posting a 1-under 70 in each of the first two rounds, Samiere was only two shots back from a three-way tie for the lead heading into Tuesday. His hot hand cooled over night, and a birdie drought during his last 15 holes kept him out of medalist contention.

“We were excited about PJ’s performance,” coach Donovan said. “We think he can be an important part of this team.”

The Aztecs will have two weeks to iron out the kinks before they head to Bremerton, Washington for the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational held at Gold Mountain Golf Course on Sept. 22.