Aztecs prepare for PING Invitational in Arizona

Aztecs prepare for PING Invitational in Arizona

by Rafael Avitabile, Staff Writer

The San Diego State women’s golf team will tee off tomorrow morning in Tempe, Arizona at the PING Invitational hosted by Arizona State University. The three-day tournament at the Karsten Golf Course will be the Aztecs’ final tune-up event before heading into the Mountain West Championship on April 20 at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.

Karsten Golf Course features a challenging links-style layout that stretches 6,121 yards throughout the Arizona State campus. SDSU last competed in the PING Invitational in 2012 where they finished 16th in a 17-team field. The Aztecs’ posted an abysmal 63-over-par 915 after 54 holes and no player finished inside of the top 30 of the individual standings. UCLA took home the team title at 5 over and was 12 strokes better than second-place ASU.

The University of Alabama won the tournament in 2013 with a 19-under-par score and the University of South Carolina claimed the title at 11 under in 2014.

All signs point toward the Aztecs having an easier go this time around as head coach Leslie Spaulding and the Aztecs enter the tournament as Golfstat’s 21st-ranked squad, just five slots behind University of Nevada, Las Vegas. A win this weekend in Arizona could place the Aztecs atop their conference in the rankings and add an exclamation point to an already successful season that has featured two team titles to this point.

After playing its last two events in match-play format, SDSU will switch gears back to the traditional stroke-play style that most golf fans are used to. The Aztecs put together a gritty performance two weeks ago at their home event, the SDSU Farms Invitational at the Farms Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe, beating Arizona State 3.5-1.5 in a fourth-round match for third place.

Junior Emma Henrikson currently leads the Aztecs with her 73.44 stroke average while sophomore Sirene Blair isn’t far behind at 73.94. Henrikson has posted two top-five finishes this season including a win at the season-opening Ptarmigan Ram Classic, and she leads the team with six total rounds below par.

Senior team captain Paige Spiranac has yet to put together a complete tournament this season, but the Scottsdale native will be looking to reverse her luck in her home state. Spiranac’s best finish of the year was at the Dick McGuire Invitational back in September where she finished in a tie for 27th place. The Aztecs would love to see the senior get her confidence going before they enter the conference championship, and a solid showing in familiar territory could do just that.

Follow all the tournament action Friday through Sunday on the live-scoring interface provided by GoAztecs.com.

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