Men’s golf strikes for fifth at Thunderbird Invite

by Cameron Salce , Production Designer

In golf, or any sport for that matter, how you start is not what counts; it’s about how you finish. The San Diego State men’s golf team proved this first hand. After starting slow on the first day of the ASU Thunderbird Invitational at Karsten Golf Course in Tempe Arizona, SDSU bounced back on the second day to jump six teams in the standings.

The Aztecs came into the second day in 11th place looking to make a major move in the pecking order of teams, and they accomplished just that. They shot the second-lowest team score of the second day out of any school shooting a 5-under par 275 as a team. All in all, SDSU finished with a total score of 855, 15-over par and tied with the University of Iowa for fifth place in the tournament.

Home team Arizona State University proved once again that home-course advantage could have a major impact on a tournament. They finished in first place with an incredible overall team score of 25-under par 815. ASU ended the weekend shooting 25 strokes better than its nearest competitor Iowa State University who shot a total team score of 840, even par. The University of San Diego, ranked 26 spots lower than SDSU by Golfweek, outperformed the Aztecs to take third shooting a total team score of 845, 5-over par.

Junior Ryan Ree and senior Xander Schauffele once again carried the load for this Aztec squad.

“Xander and Ryan have been our number one and two players all season long, and it is no surprise when one or both of them steps up in a tournament,” head coach Ryan Donovan said.

Niether Ree or Schauffele’s scorecards competed in the individual portion of this tournament, but each of them played well as they have all season long. Ree finished tied for the 14th-best overall score in the tournament shooting a total three round score of 212, 2-over par. Schauffele was not far off that mark and finished tied for 19th with a total score of 213, 3-over par.

Another notable performance came from freshman P.J. Samiere, and his individual tournament went hand-in-hand with how the Aztecs performed as a team. He also started slow and made a major leap on day two. Samiere came into the day in 65th place overall and by the end of day two he had leaped past 31 other players all the way into a tie for 34th. Samiere fired a team best 67, 3-under on day two to spark the Aztecs into a top 5 finish.

The Aztecs are currently ranked 33rd by Golfweek and 31st by the Golf Coaches Association of America’s poll. The next chance they have to improve those rankings is at the historic Western Intercollegiate, April 11-12, at Pasatiempo Golf Course in Santa Cruz.