Aztecs fall short of third straight berth in NCAA Championships
Photo: Blake Abercrombie led the Aztecs with a 73 during the final round of the NCAA regionals on Wednesday. Courtesy goaztecs.com
May 16, 2017 (Sammamish, Wash.) - The San Diego State men’s golf team saw its 2016-17 campaign come to a disappointing conclusion Wednesday with an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Washington Regional at Aldarra Golf Club. The Aztecs fired a combined 14-over-par 298 during the final round to complete the tournament with a 54-hole total of 30-over 882 on the par-71, 6,885-yard course layout.
SDSU entered the day just four shots out of fifth place, the requisite standing for a berth in the NCAA championship series, set for May 26-31 in Sugar Grove, Ill. However, the Aztecs were unable to keep pace, as Penn State (+11) shot a collective 285 to claim the Washington Regional’s final spot in the national meet.
USC (-3) held off a late charge by Kent State (+3) to win the regional title, while Florida State (+10) and Alabama (+10) finished in a distant tie for third. In addition, Texas A&M’s Chandler Phillips finished alone in seventh place at 2-under 211 to secure the regional’s individual bid from a non-advancing school to the NCAA finals.
PJ Samiere (Kailua, Hawaii) was San Diego State’s No. 1 golfer, matching his highest career finish with a tie for 22nd at 5-over 218. However, the Aztec junior tumbled 15 places on the leaderboard thanks to a final-round 76. Despite closing with eight pars and a birdie, Samiere was undone on the front nine by three bogeys as well as a triple-bogey on the par-4, 438-yard 18th.
In addition, Gunn Yang (Pyeongchang, South Korea) finished three shots behind Samiere in a tie for 29th at 8-over 221 on the heels of a 74. The SDSU senior endured a trio of bogeys of his own on the front nine before rebounding with seven pars and one birdie. Despite the hiccups, Yang still managed to climb five spots from his previous position.
Tuesday also marked the final collegiate round for fellow classmate Nahum Mendoza III (San Diego, Calif.), who shot a 75 to finish the tournament in a tie for 34th at 9-over 222. The three-time all-Mountain West performer led the team with 14 pars on the day, but drained just one birdie, as a triple-bogey on the par-5, 525-yard No. 11, his second hole of round, presaged an inauspicious round.
Elsewhere, Blake Abercrombie (Rocklin, Calif.) climbed nine places into a tie for 43rd at 12-over 225 after logging the Aztecs’ lowest score of the day with a 73. Despite carding bogeys on three of his last four holes, the SDSU junior tied for the team lead wth three birdies, including a successful conversion on the par-4, 445-yard No. 5, which ranked as the most difficult hole for the tournament.
The Aztec lineup also featured Trevor Norby (Carlsbad, Calif.), who ended the week one shot in back of Abercrombie at 13-over 226 following a 78. The redshirt freshman drained three birdies of his own, including an impressive drain on the par-3, 249-yard 13th, which ranked as the toughest hole of the final round. However, six bogeys and two doubles proved too much to overcome.
Penn State’s Cole Miller (-7) captured medalist honors after posting a final-round 68, while three golfers tied for the runner-up spot, including Kent State’s Ian Holt and the USC duo of Sean Crocker and Justin Suh.
With rain exiting the area, average scores for the final round dipped by nearly a stroke to 74.41 on Wednesday, compared to Tuesday’s 75.24 clip.
2017 NCAA Washington Regional
Aldarra Golf Club
Par 71, 6,885 yards
(Top 5 schools advance to NCAA Championships)
1. USC 280-283-286—849 (-3)
1. Kent State 287-282-286—855 (+3)
T3. Florida State 278-288-296—862 (+10)
T3. Alabama 283-297-282—862 (+10)
5. Penn State 290-288-285—863 (+11)
6. Texas A&M 287-296-284—867 (+15)
7. Washington 295-286-288—869 (+17)
8. San Diego State 290-294-298—882 (+30)
9. UTEP 297-294-293—884 (+32)
10. Michigan 292-298-296—886 (+34)
11. Michigan State 300-301-295—896 (+44)
12. Seattle 305-298-294—897 (+45)
13. Marquette 291-308-300—899 (+47)
14. Bryant 313-326-314—953 (+101)
Individual Leaders (Top 6 of 75 players + SDSU)
1. Cole Miller, Penn State 69-69-68—206 (-7)
T2. Ian Holt, Kent State 73-69-67—209 (-4)
T2. Sean Crocker, USC 64-74-71—209 (-4)
T2. Justin Suh, USC 68-68-73—209 (-4)
T5. Harry Ellis, Florida State 73-66-71—210 (-3)
T5. Rico Hoey, USC 70-70-70—210 (-3)
T22. PJ Samiere, SDSU 71-71-76—218 (+5)
T29. Gunn Yang, SDSU 71-76-74—221 (+8)
T34. Nahum Mendoza III, SDSU 74-73-75—222 (+9)
T43. Blake Abercrombie, SDSU 76-76-73—225 (+12)
T45. Trevor Norby, SDSU 74-74-78—226 (+13)