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Junior PJ Samiere leads Aztecs with final-round 70


Photo:  PJ Samiere tied for 17th at the Southern Highlands Collegiate this week.  Courtesy

March 8, 2017 (Las Vegas) - The San Diego State men’s golf team completed its third tournament of the spring Wednesday, finishing 15th at the prestigious Southern Highlands Collegiate after recording a collective 11-over-par 298 during the final round at Southern Highlands Golf Club. 

Despite trimming their team score for the second day in a row, the Aztecs were unable to gain ground in a stacked field that featured nine top-25 squads, posting a 54-hole total of 41-over 905 on the par-72, 7,374-yard course layout. With their result, the Aztecs ended the week 18 shots behind SMU (+23) for 10th place.

SDSU was once again paced by junior PJ Samiere, who climbed an additional nine places on the individual leaderboard after firing a final-round 70 to finish in a tie for 17th at even-par 216. The Kailua, Hawaii, native notched a team-high five birdies, including three consecutive drains on his last three holes at No. 7-9 en route to his fourth top-20 placement of the year.  

In addition, fellow classmate Blake Abercrombie displayed upward mobility on Wednesday, vaulting 17 places into a tie for 36th at 8-over 224. The Rocklin, Calif., product whittled six strokes off his second-round card after shooting a 72 over the final 18 holes. Abercrombie offset three bogeys with a trio of birdies, including three on his back nine.

Senior Nahum Mendoza III also managed to shave six shots off Tuesday’s score, posting a 76 to jump six spots into a tie for 76th at 20-over 236. The Francis Parker High alumnus was 2-over for the day following a birdie at the par-4 No. 1, his first hole after the turn. However, Mendoza was plagued by three bogeys down the stretch before finishing on an upbeat note with another birdie at No. 9.

Elsewhere, sophomore Otto Vanhatalo finished one shot in back of Mendoza, tying for the 75th position at 21-over 237 after shooting an 80 on Wednesday. The Espoo, Finland, native found himself at 10-over for the round following a disastrous stretch on his front nine, but rebounded nicely with seven pars and two birdies after the turn.

The Aztecs were also represented by Gunn Yang, who matched Vanhatalo with a final-round 80. The SDSU senior was just 1-over for the day after making birdie on the par-5, 603-yard 18th, which ranked as the sixth-toughest hole on Wednesday. However, Yang was stung on his back nine, suffering five bogeys and a double to finish the round in 80th.

No. 7 USC (-11) cruised to the team title after outpacing No. 4 Oklahoma State (-1) by 10 shots, while No. 11 Texas Tech (+3) took third, followed by No. 10 Stanford (+9) and No. 33 Pepperdine (+9). Grant Hirschman of No. 14 Oklahoma defeated Collin Morikawa of California on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to capture medalist honors after both players finished regulation at 6-under 210.

San Diego State will be back in action next week when it plays host to the 11th annual Lamkin San Diego Classic, March 13-14, at San Diego Country Club in Chula Vista, Calif.

Southern Highlands Collegiate

Final Results

Southern Highlands G.C.

Las Vegas, Nev.

Par 72, 7,374 yards

Team Scores (Top 5 of 15 teams + SDSU)

1. USC                                               278-291-284—853 (-11)

2. Oklahoma State                           286-289-288—863 (-1)

3. Texas Tech                                    293-287-287—867 (+3)

T4. Pepperdine                                 282-297-294—873 (+9)

T4. Stanford                                     281-294-298—873 (+9)


15. San Diego State                          307-300-298—905 (+41)   

Individual Leaders (Top 6 of 80 players + SDSU)        

T1. Grant Hirshman, Oklahoma                     70-72-68—210 (-6)

T1. Collin Morikawa, California                      66-71-73—210 (-6)

T3. Ivan Ramirez, Texas Tech                         75-68-68—211 (-5)

T3. Cheng Jin, USC                                          69-73-69—211 (-5)

T3. Justin Suh, USC                                         70-68-73—211 (-5)

T3. Jared duToit, Arizona State                      71-71-69—211 (-5)


T17. PJ Samiere, SDSU                                   74-72-70—216 (E)

T36. Blake Abercrombie SDSU                       75-77-72—224 (+8)

T71. Nahum Mendoza III, SDSU                     78-82-76—236 (+20)

T75. Otto Vanhatalo, SDSU                            80-77-80—237 (+21)

80. Gunn Yang, SDSU                                     DQ-74-80—154 (+10)

Final results