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Three finish in top five as ASU wins Thunderbird Invitational

April 13, 2008

Playing three freshmen and two sophomores, the Arizona State men's golf team won the 36th annual 15-school ASU Thunderbird Invitational held at ASU's Karsten Golf Course (par-71/7,057 yards) with a 9-under 843 (279-279-285), nine shots ahead of the ASU Maroon Team, which finished at even-par 852 (279-286-287).

It marked the 40th Sun Devil tournament title for 14th-year ASU head coach Randy Lein.

Sun Devil sophomore Knut Borsheim (73-68-70) shot a 2-under 211 and finished second, one shot behind Denver's Espen Kofstad's 3-under 210 (70-72-68). It marked Borsheim's second career top-10 finish in 16 appearances, as he finished tied for sixth at last year's Oregon Duck Invitational. He now has a 72.21 stroke average on the year.

Sophomore Braxton Marquez, who was tied for first after the first round with a 5-under 66 in just his third appearance on the year, finished at 1-under 212 (66-73-73) along with freshman teammate Jesper Kennegard (75-68-69). Kennegard's updated stroke average of 71.71 is the second-best by a freshman in ASU history, behind Alejandro Canizares in 2003 (71.65), when he won the national title.

Freshmen Stephan Gross (71-70-73) finished at 1-over 214 and tied for ninth, his second top-10 finish in four appearances on the year.

Freshman James Byrne, who carded a 2-under 69 on Friday, tied for 40th with an 8-over 221 (69-77-75). Friday's round marked his third in the 60s this year in his fifth appearance.

Leading the way for the ASU Maroon squad was freshman Cameron Edens, who tied for sixth as he finished at even-par 213 (68-72-73). He entered the tournament with a 75.42 stroke average in four previous appearances.

Phil Telliard finished tied for 14th at 2-over 215 (70-75-70). Erik Coover finished at 3-over 216 (71-67-78) and tied for 16th along with sophomore Tristan Bierenbroodspot (70-72-74) and freshman Scott Pinckney (71-75-70).

ASU has won six of the past ten Thunderbird Invitationals (1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2008) and 14 times overall since the tournament began in 1973.

ASU next will play at the Stanford Intercollegiate April 19-20 and then travels to the Pac-10 Championships April 27-29 in Oakland. NCAA Regional play will be held May 15-17 while the NCAA Championships will be held May 28-31 in Indiana at West Lafayette.

NOTES: ASU won its first tournament since the National Invitational in Tucson last spring (April 2-3, 2007), as Knut Borsheim is the only current member of the team to play in that tournament...Oregon won last year's Thunderbird Invitational with a 20-under 844 (277-279-288), three shots ahead of Arizona State which was at 17-under 847 (281-283-283), as par was set at 72 (288 for the team rounds and 864 for the final team score)...individually, New Mexico's Charlie Beljan won the tournament with a 15-under 201 last year (April 13-15, 2007)...ASU is now 65-47-2 overall this year...

ASU WINNERS: Fourteen ASU teams have won the Thunderbird Invitational, with ASU winning the title in 1984, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2008.

PAST ASU INDIVIDUAL WINNERS: Eight Sun Devils have won the individual titles on nine occasions, with Phil Mickelson (1991 and 1992) the only multiple winner. Other Sun Devil individual winners include Mark Sollenberger (1974), Jim Carter (1984), Larry Barber (1994), Todd Demsey (1995), Jeff Quinney (2000), Paul Casey (2001) and Alejandro Canizares (2003).