Men’s golf limps into MW Championships following sub-par play at Western Intercollegiate

by Cameron Salce, Staff Writer

Golf is a game of a major up and downs, but how a player responds to poor play is how his or her greatness is measured.

The No. 22 San Diego State men’s golf team had a rare tournament in which it didn’t play its best this week at the Western Intercollegiate at Pasatiempo Golf Course in Santa Cruz, and how it responds at the Mountain West Championships in eight days will either make or break the season.

SDSU finished the tournament smack-dab in the middle of the pack in seventh place out of 14 teams, 34 strokes behind the leader. Stanford University, USC and University of Oregon finished in first, second and third place, respectively. Stanford dominated the competition, finishing 10 strokes ahead of second-place USC. Home-course advantage definitely played a factor in its victory, considering the school’s close proximity to Pasatiempo.

Stanford is roughly 40 miles away from the course.  The Aztecs, however, did not have that same advantage and it plagued them throughout the tournament.

“As a team we were undisciplined around the golf course and it led to us not playing well in the long run,” head coach Ryan Donovan said.

The conditions around the course got worse and worse due to rain as the tournament went on and that affected SDSU’s play.

“There was just nowhere to stop the ball,” Donovan said as he told a story of one of his players hitting a chip shot that eventually ended up right back at his own feet.

However, Donovan realizes this tournament was not all bad and it gave the whole team experience in these types of conditions. SDSU brought seven golfers to the tournament, giving some reserve players the chance to experience tournament play.

The individual results for the Aztecs were similar to results of the team standings. Senior Ryan Ree had the best score for the Aztecs, coming in 15th place at 1-over, 17 strokes behind the winner, Stanford junior Maverick McNealy.

Junior Nahum Mendoza finished second-best out of SDSU’s golfers, finishing at 2-over.

The rest of the Aztecs that played in the tournament included sophomore P.J. Samiere, junior Brian Song and sophomore Gunn Yang. Samiere finished tied for 33rd place at 7-over, Song placed tied for 49th at 11-over and Yang finished tied for 67th at 14-over.

“Same as for most of the year Ryan Ree and Nahum Mendoza (III) really carried the load for us in this tournament,” Donovan said.

Ree was in the top 10 entering the final day of the tournament, but fell into a tie for 15th place. Mendoza on the other hand played spectacular on the final day and shot a final round 68, which was one of the best rounds of the tournament for anyone.

The No. 22 Aztecs will look to rebound from this tournament next week when they head to Omni National Resort in Tucson, Arizona, for the for the Mountain West Championships, scheduled for April 22-24.