Men's Golf Spring Season Outlook
Jan. 27, 2011
MALIBU, Calif. -- After Josh Anderson and Andrew Putnam claimed medalist honors at the first two tournaments of the fall season, a Golfweek.com article exclaimed, "Pepperdine Riding High With Dynamic Duo." While those two continue to build resumes that are among the best in school history, they are just part of a deep Pepperdine men's golf squad that has head coach John Geiberger excited for the 2011 spring season.
"I've told people that our top two are as good as anyone's top two," said Geiberger, who is in his 15th season with the Waves. "When they play well together, we're dangerous. At Washington (the Husky Invitational) both of them played well and we won the tournament. It's fun having two guys that you know can win any given tournament. They've got experience, but they also realize their calendars are ticking down and they want to make their mark now."
The Waves began the 2010-11 season by shooting the second-best team score in team history, a 17-under 847 that allowed Pepperdine to win the Husky Invitational by seven strokes. Anderson fired a 10-under 206 and finished four strokes ahead of Putnam, who placed second.
"We've got a great chance to go far this season," Geiberger said. "We showed it right out of the blocks by beating teams like Oregon, Washington and Texas A&M. The guys know it's there. Our goals are to win another regular-season tournament, defend our West Coast Conference championship and not just make the NCAA Championships but advance to match play."
Putnam (University Place, Wash./Life Christian Academy) is one of three seniors on the squad. Following his second-place showing at the Husky Invitational, he was a tri-medalist at the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate, good for his first collegiate victory. The two-time All-American averaged 71.33 strokes in the fall and is at 72.63 for his career, which ranks #2 all-time at Pepperdine. He's finished in the top 20 in 32 of his 40 career tournaments. Putnam heads into the spring ranked #30 by Golfstat.
"Andrew's ready for a big finish," Geiberger said. "You look at his numbers, he's quietly creeping up on a lot of the all-time lists here. But he's motivated this semester to really leave his mark. He doesn't want to leave without more individual and team championships. He's accomplished a lot, but he's not satisfied by any means."
Anderson (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta Valley HS), a redshirt junior, is coming off a fall where he averaged 73.06 strokes and won his second collegiate event. His spring gets off to an impressive start as he takes part in the PGA Tour's Farmers Insurance Open. It's his second time playing the event at Torrey Pines. Anderson ranks #4 all-time at Pepperdine with a 73.06 stroke average.
"Josh has a tremendous amount of physical talent and a very explosive game," Geiberger said. "He always plays to win and that has shown with his results. He is more comfortable with his game in college. He knows it belongs at the top of the leaderboard."
Even beyond Putnam and Anderson, it's an experienced and talented group.
"We've got a smaller team right now with eight players, but we've got the right amount of depth behind our top two guys," said Geiberger, who hired former Pepperdine All-American Michael Beard to be his assistant coach last summer. "We have players that are capable of good rounds and good tournaments at the right times. We've got the ingredients for a championship team."
The veterans are seniors Andrew Widmar (El Paso, Texas/Cathedral HS) and Austyn Karle (Scottsdale, Ariz./Notre Dame Prep) and sophomore Johnny Mac Arthur (Newhall, Calif./Hart HS). They saw the bulk of the action during the fall season. Widmar has played in 22 tournaments in his career, while Karle is right behind with 21 and Mac Arthur has played seven.
Three talented freshmen each made their collegiate debut in the fall, playing one tournament apiece. Chris Capo (Woodland Hills, Calif./Crespi Carmelite HS), Alex Forss (Temecula, Calif./Great Oak HS) and Parker Page (Louisville, Ky./Ballard HS) are all eager to play a bigger role in the spring.
Pepperdine has a busy spring ahead with six regular-season tournaments before the WCC and NCAA events. The Waves will play at the Arizona Invitational, USC Intercollegiate, General Hackler Championship, Oregon Duck Invitational, Morris Williams Intercollegiate and ASU Thunderbird Invitational.