Pac-10 Championship: ASU tops USC in playoff

FAIRFAX, Calif. (April 30, 2008)--The men's golf squad, playing with three freshmen, two sophomores and a senior, captured its eighth Pac-10 title in 16 years under head coach Randy Lein on Wednesday in a one-hole playoff over defending conference champion USC (#2 Golfstat/#3 Golfweek) at The Meadow Club (par-71, 6,686 yards) in Fairfax, Calif.

Creighton Honeck and of the Universtiy of Arizona and Kevin Chappell of UCLA shared medalist honors at 3-under-281.

ASU's six-man squad posted four pars on the par-4 18th hole, as the Sun Devil freshmen trio of Stephan Gross, Jesper Kennegard and James Byrne each made par along with sophomore Knut Borsheim. Braxton Marquez and Phil Telliard each notched a bogey. Only two USC players posted par on the tiebreaker hole as ASU clinched its 12th Pac-10 title in 30 years as ASU trailed USC by two strokes entering the final day. ASU trailed by 16 to the Trojans after the first round on Monday.

"We are thrilled to not only make a great comeback on the final day, but to get such a great team effort throughout the tournament from such a young and improving team," said head coach Randy Lein. "We have really played well since the spring season started with the additions of Stephan and Braxton. James (Byrne) led us and shot his best round of the season Tuesday. Stephan (Gross) was as steady as you can be all week and led us Wednesday. Jesper (Kennegard) shot a 67 in the first round and that got us off to a great start. Braxton (Marquez) shot his best round of the tournament on the final day (72), while Phil (Telliard), a great team captain and our only senior, shot one of the best rounds of his career in the second round (69).

"We had Jesper, Phil, James and then Stephan each lead us in a round. When you get four different players lead you, you are playing great team golf. Knut and Braxton never led us on one day, but of their eight rounds we only tossed out on one of their scores. This was as solid of a Pac-10 team win as we have had in our eight championships since I have been coaching."

ASU, ranked 20th by Golfweek and 29th by Golfstat, shot 354-361-356-364 and tied with the Trojans (338-374-357-366) at 15-over 1,435. The Pac-10 Championship counts the low five scores from the six-man teams, and full results are available at www.golfstat.com.

Freshman James Byrne tied for third at 1-under 283 (71-72-67-73). He was the only player to break par in Tuesday's second round and he did it in convincing fashion with his 67. He posted six birdies in the third round, including five in a seven-hole stretch on the back nine, as his 67 was a season-best, and posted four birdies in the final round Wednesday.

Freshman Stephan Gross tied for eighth at 1-over 285 (70-71-73-71). Gross posted 48 pars in 72 holes (fifth-best in the tournament) en route to his third top-10 appearance in just six events on the year, as he now has a 71.89 stroke average.

Freshmen Jesper Kennegard finished at 3-over 287 (67-73-72-75), which tied for 13th. Kennegard already has four top-five finishes and five top-10 finishes, as he now has a 71.54 stroke average in 10 events (31 rounds), ahead of the ASU freshmen record set by four-time All-American and 2003 NCAA medalist Alejandro Canizares in 2003 when he posted a 71.65 average in eight events.

Sophomore Braxton Marquez tied for 35th at 11-over 295 (74-76-73-72). Marquez played the par 5 holes at 9-under in the tournament.

Sophomore Knut Borsheim finished at 13-over 297 (72-81-71-73) and tied for 40th.

Senior and team captain Phil Telliard tied for 45th at 14-over 298 (76-69-76-77), as his 69 in the second round included five birdies and was the second-lowest score of his career.

ASU became the fifth different school to win the team title in the past five years as USC (2007), UCLA (2006), Washington (2005) and Arizona (2004) each won

--Courtesy USC

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