LAKESIDE, Calif. (March 23, 2012) -- The No. 12 San Diego State men's golf team rallied for its fourth consecutive victory Friday by edging No. 10 USC by two strokes with a 54-hole total of 29-under 1,051 at the annual Barona Collegiate Cup in Lakeside, Calif. The Aztecs won at the par-72, 7,393-yard Barona Creek Golf Course for the third year in a row and were led by senior J.J. Spaun, who earned medalist honors for the third-straight event and the third time overall in the last 11 days.
"(This win) is a great accomplishment," said SDSU head coach Ryan Donovan. "Even though people think it's a huge advantage, it's actually somewhat difficult to win at home. Today the guys stayed patient even though we started off a little slow at the get-go and finished strong, which I always love to see. You really can't take away the experience level of this team and I couldn't be more proud them."
The host squad completed the second round early Friday morning with an eight-stroke lead through 36 holes. The Trojans, however, rallied in the afternoon, actually taking over first place from the Aztecs with only three holes to go. SDSU's six starters responded to the deficit by carding nine total birdies over the final four holes, combining to go 6-under during that span, while USC went 2-under par.
Spaun (San Dimas, Calif.) was one of the team's two seniors to card three birdies over the final four holes to give him a three-stroke win in the individual race with a 14-under 202. The All-American posted efforts of 67-67-68 to extend his streak of consecutive sub-70 rounds to seven in a row.
"I've been learning how to eliminate a lot of mistakes on the course, because I'm playing one hole at a time and trying to forget about any bad shots," Spaun said. "It's led to a bunch of confidence and as a team, we're getting a lot of great momentum heading toward the postseason."
Spaun won in each of his two starts last week at The Farms Collegiate Invitational (March 12-13) by two strokes and at the National Invitational Tournament (March 16-17) by four strokes. His three individual titles in 2012 are the most by an SDSU player in a single calendar year since Kevin Riley also won three in 1990 and gives him five overall in his decorated Aztec career.
Fellow senior Alex Kang (Oak Park, Calif.) also played a huge part in the SDSU comeback with three consecutive birdies on his final four holes to vault him into seventh place. Kang carded 14 birdies and an eagle in the 54 holes for a season-low 10-under 206 and his fourth top-10 finish of 2011-12.
Senior Colin Featherstone (Fallbrook, Calif.) had three-straight rounds of even-par or better to tie for 14th with a season-best 211, while junior Tom Berry (New Haw, England) made it four Aztecs in the top 20 on the individual leaderboard with his 3-under 213, highlighted by a pair of 70s. Senior Matt Hoffenberg (Simi Valley, Calif.) and freshman Wilson Bateman (Edmonton, Alberta) rounded out the starting line-up in a tie for 46th at 4-over 220.
The team also had a pair of individual competitors with Cameron Tennant (Woodland Hills, Calif.) tying for 63rd at 8-over 224 and Evan Emerick (Carlsbad, Calif.) coming in 107th at 34-over 250.
San Diego State will head to the Bay Area in search of its fifth consecutive win at the U.S. Intercollegiate in Stanford, Calif., March 30-April 1.
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