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Men's golf places in top five at ASU Thunderbird Invitational


April 11, 2011

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USC maintained its hold on the leaderboard as the weather improved in the second day of the 39th annual ASU Thunderbird Invitational, shooting a 5-under par 279 in the third round to win the tournament by 14 strokes. Held at ASU Karsten Golf Course (par 71/7,057 yards), the Trojans carded a 10-under par on the first day and finished with a 15-under par 837 (287-271-279), placing three players in the top four of the individual standings.

Defending 2010 Thunderbird champion J.J. Spaun of San Diego State took medalist honors with a 7-over par 206 (70-69-67). With Nick Delio of CSU Northridge and a pair of Trojan players also vying for the top spot, Spaun chipped in on the 18th to birdie the hole and claim the championship. Spaun is only the second player to win consecutive Thunderbird titles, matching ASU's Phil Mickelson, who accomplished the feat in 1991-92.

Arizona State recorded a 4-over par 288 in the third round to tie for fifth at 12-over par 864 (284-292-288). Playing individually, James Byrne had the best round of the day for the Sun Devils, shooting a 2-under par 69 to finish at 1-under par 212 (72-71-69) and in a tie for ninth.

Senior Scott Pinckney tied for 12th after collecting a 2-over par 73 and finished at even par 213 (66-74-73). Senior Jesper Kennegard birdied the first two holes of the round and ended the day with a 3-over par 74, putting him in a tie for 16th with a 2-over par 215 (71-70-74). With a 1-over par 72 in the third round, senior Oscar Zetterwall tied for 24th at 3-over par 216 (71-73-72).

Senior Thomas Buran tied for 46th after shooting a 1-under par 70, his best round of the two days, and finished tied for 46th at 8-over par 221 (76-75-70). Junior Spencer Fletcher also carded his best round of the event, a 2-over par 73, to end at 21-over par 234 (85-76-73).

Also on the individual side, Phillip Francis recorded a 1-under par 70 to bring his three-round total to 4-over par 217 (71-76-70) and tied for 29th, and Jin Song finished in a tie for 56th at 11-over par 224 (76-71-77).

Stephen Hale of California shot a hole-in-one on the par 3, 155-yard seventh hole.

The Sun Devils head to Pasatiempo, Calif., April 16-17 for the two-day Far Western.

THE FIELD: Arizona State, No. 18 Cal, Colorado State, CS Northridge, Florida State, Northwestern, Pepperdine, No. 10 San Diego State, San Jose State, UC Irvine, UNLV, USC and Washington State (rankings based on March 27 Golfweek poll).

ANOTHER SET OF RANKINGS: Three teams competing in this weekend's ASU/Thunderbird Invitational are ranked in the March 21 GOLFWORLD/Nike poll as San Diego State is seventh, California 17th and USC 25th. ASU is just behind USC, ranked 26th.

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, 2008 and 2009.

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), Stephan Gross (2009-shared).