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Junior P.J. Samiere leads Aztecs with final-round 70


Photo:  P.J. Samiere courtesy

February 28, 2017 (Westlake Village, Calif.) - The San Diego State men’s golf team slipped into a tie eighth place at the Southwestern Invitational Tuesday after shooting a combined 6-over-par 294 during the final round at the par-72, 6,992-yard North Ranch Country Club.

With their total, the Aztecs ended the tournament with a 54-hole score of 19-over 883 along with UC Davis, finishing 13 strokes in back of fifth-place SMU (+6), while Michigan (+15) took sixth, followed by Augusta (+17).

SDSU had just one player finish among the top 20 on the individual leaderboard as Eric Ghim (Glendale, Ariz.) tied for 17th at 2-over 218 despite carding a 77 over the final 18 holes. The Aztec freshman opened with four straight pars followed by a birdie on the par-4, 382-yard No. 7. However, four bogeys and a double on the par-3 eighth hastened his drop from the seventh position.

Nahum Mendoza III (San Diego, Calif.) experienced a similar fate, tumbling seven places into a tie for 28th at 6-over 222 after matching Ghim’s 77. The SDSU senior overcame three bogeys on the front nine with birdies on the par-4 10th and the par-5 12th, but a double-bogey-6 at No. 14, followed by additional bogeys on the 16th and 18th greens precipitated his fall.

Conversely, the Aztecs’ round of the day belonged to P.J. Samiere (Kailua, Hawaii), who vaulted 23 places into a tie for 34th at 7-over 223 on the strength of a final-round 70. The SDSU junior led the team with seven birdies, including a successful drain on the par-4, 416-yard 14th, which ranked as the fourth-toughest hole of the tournament. 

Blake Abercrombie (Rocklin, Calif.) also displayed upward mobility on Tuesday, jumping 10 spots into a tie for 34th along with Samiere. The Aztec junior sank four birdies on the day, including an impressive conversion on the par-3 235-yard No. 8, which ranked as the most difficult hole of the week. Abercrombie also notched 11 pars, but a bogey and two double-bogeys prevented a steeper ascent.

Similarly, Brian Song (Beverly Hills, Calif.) played steady golf for most of the day, recording 11 pars to go with back-to-back birdies on the fifth and sixth greens. However, the SDSU senior settled for a 74 after suffering double-bogeys at No. 8 and No. 14. Despite the hiccups, Song still climbed six spots into a tie for 67th at 16-over 232.

Rounding out the Aztec delegation was sophomore Otto Vanhatalo (Espoo, Finland), an individual competitor who jumped nine places into a tie for 48th after firing a 73 on Tuesday. The Torrey Pines alumnus collected 13 pars and two birdies to highlight his round.

With three players in the individual top 10 including medalist Sahith Theegala, host Pepperdine (-21) easily outdistanced runner-up USC (-5) for the team title, while Lipscomb (+2) placed third, followed by Washington State (+4).

Alex Higgs of SMU (-9) finished one shot in back of Theegala (-10) on the individual leaderboard, while the Waves’ Clay Feagler and Augusta’s Broc Everett tied for third at 8-under.

San Diego State returns to action next week for the Southern Highlands Collegiate, March 6-7, in Las Vegas, Nev.

Southwestern Invitational

Final Results

North Ranch C.C.

Westlake Village, Calif.

Par 72, 6,992 yards

Team Scores (Top 5 of 14 teams + SDSU)

1. Pepperdine                                    275-281-287—843 (-21)

2. USC                                                 289-282-288—859 (-5)

3. Lipscomb                                        292-282-292—866 (+2)

4. Washington State                         282-289-297—868 (+4)

5. SMU                                                288-289-293—870 (+6)


T8. San Diego State                          301-288-294—883 (+19)  

Individual Leaders (Top 6 of 84 players + SDSU)        

1. Sahith Theegala, Pepperdine                      66-66-74—206 (-10)

2. Alex Higgs, SMU                                           71-67-69—207 (-9)

T3. Broc Everett, Augusta                                69-69-70—208 (-8)           

T3. Clay Feagler, Pepperdine                           67-70-71—208 (-4)

T5. Rico Hoey, USC                                           69-68-73—210 (-6)           

T5. Stoney Crouch, Lipscomb                          71-69-70—210 (-6)


T17. Eric Ghim, SDSU                                       71-70-77—218 (+2)

T28. Nahum Mendoza III, SDSU                     74-68-77—222 (+6)

T34. P.J. Samiere, SDSU                                    78-75-70—223 (+7)

T34. Blake Abercrombie SDSU                       78-72-73—223 (+7)

T48. Otto Vanhatalo, SDSU*                          77-76-73—226 (+10)

T67. Brian Song, SDSU                                     83-75-74—232 (+16)

Complete final results