Waves Go to Texas for Morris Williams
MALIBU, Calif. Â Led by sophomore All-American Andrew Putnam, who has finished in the top 10 in five consecutive tournaments, the Pepperdine men’s golf team quickly gets back into action at the 43rd Morris Williams Intercollegiate, hosted by the University of Texas, on Monday and Tuesday (March 30-31).
The event comes just a week after the Waves’ sixth-place finish at the Oregon Duck Invitational. It’s the last warmup for Pepperdine prior to the West Coast Conference Championships in mid-April.
The Waves will be looking for the type of team play they got earlier this spring when they won the Arizona Intercollegiate and took third at the General Jim Hackler Invitational. At the Duck Invitational, Putnam placed fourth and redshirt freshman Josh Anderson tied for 17th, but the three other members of the team finished in the 50s.
At the Morris Williams Intercollegiate Â held at the par-71, 7,412-yard University of Texas Golf Club in Austin, Texas Â the Waves are of 18 teams in the competition, including Air Force, Arkansas, Baylor, BYU, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Pepperdine, Rice, SMU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Christian, Texas Tech, Tulsa, UNLV and USC.
Pepperdine is ranked #32 by Golfstat and #36 in the Golfweek/Sagarin index. Eight of the top 25 teams in the nation (according to Golfstat) will be in the field in Texas, including #2 Oklahoma State and #3 USC.
Two rounds will be held on Monday with the third and final round on Tuesday. Live scoring will be posted at www.golfstat.com.
The Waves have been a regular at the Morris Williams Intercollegiate since 1999, having only missed two of them since then. Pepperdine’s best finish was second in 2002 and the squad took 10th place last year.
Joining Putnam and Anderson in the lineup will be juniors Carl Smith and Shane Mason and sophomore Chad Vivolo.
Putnam (University Place, Wash./Life Christian Academy), an All-American third team selection last season, is averaging a team-best 71.73 strokes (more than a full stroke better than the 73.07 he posted as a freshman). He’s been in the top 20 in all 10 of his tournaments this season and in the top 10 seven times. He has 14 sub-par rounds, with at least one at every tournament so far. Putnam is currently ranked #21 in the Golfweek/Sagarin index and #26 by Golfstat.
Anderson (Temecula, Calif./Murrieta Valley HS), who it’s believed became the first current Pepperdine golfer to take part in a PGA Tour event when he participated in the 2009 Buick Invitational in February, is averaging 73.30 strokes, second-best on the team. He has two top 20 finishes this spring and six for the season.
Vivolo (Carmel, Calif./Stevenson HS) is ranked #65 in the Golfweek/Sagarin index and #77 by Golfstat and has two top 10 finishes and four top 20 results in his six tournaments. He’s averaging 73.39 strokes per round. Mason (San Diego, Calif./St. Augustine HS) is in the lineup for the fourth straight event and is averaging 74.62 strokes. Smith (Laguna Beach, Calif./Santa Margarita HS) returns to the lineup for the first time since February and is averaging 76.24 strokes.
FIRST IN ARIZONA Â Pepperdine held off San Diego State by three strokes to win the Arizona Intercollegiate, the first tournament of the spring season, on Feb. 2-3. The Waves shot a 3-over 855 (286-279-290) at the par-71 Arizona National Golf Club, giving Pepperdine its first team victory since The Club Glove Intercollegiate in October 2007. Chad Vivolo had a big final round, as he finished up the tournament with a 6-under 65 that included eight birdies. That moved him all the way into a fourth-place finish with a 4-under 209 (72-72-65). Andrew Putnam had five eagles and tied for ninth place and Josh Anderson tied for 15th. Vivolo was named Golf World’s Player of the Week for his effort in Pepperdine’s victory.
PGA EVENT Â It’s believed that redshirt freshman Josh Anderson became the first active Pepperdine golfer to compete in a PGA Tour event when he participated in the 2009 Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines (Feb. 5-8). He won a one-round qualifying event for amateurs in the fall. Unfortunately, Anderson missed the cut by one stroke as he shot a 3-over 147 (73-74).
2008-09 HONORS Â Andrew Putnam was the WCC Player of the Month for both October and February ... Chad Vivolo was named Golf World’s Player of the Week after the Arizona Intercollegiate.
2008-09 ROSTER Â One thing you won’t find on Pepperdine’s roster is a senior. The 10-player roster is made up of five juniors, three sophomores, one redshirt freshman and one true freshman.
JOHN GEIBERGER Â The 2007-08 season marks John Geiberger’s 13th as head coach of Pepperdine. In his first season as coach of the Waves, Geiberger led the team to the 1997 NCAA national title, the first in team history. Under Geiberger’s guidance, Pepperdine has won the WCC title nine times (1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007) and he has earned the league’s Coach of the Year honors on five occasions (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2005).
2007-08 RECAP Â The Waves were one stroke away from their eighth NCAA Championships berth, but unfortunately came up just short. Pepperdine finished in a tie for ninth at the 2008 NCAA West Regional. In a three-team playoff with two teams advancing, the Waves ended up behind Texas and San Diego State. Earlier, the Waves tied for second at the WCC Championships. Eric Shriver advanced to the NCAA Championships as an individual. Andrew Putnam was named to the Golfweek All-American third team and the All-WCC first team and was also named WCC Freshman of the Year. Jesse Barnsley, Carl Smith and Andrew Widmar were All-WCC honorable mention.
PEPPERDINE GOLF HISTORY Â Following the blueprint of other athletics programs at Pepperdine, the men’s golf team blossomed as a nationally recognized program and the Waves reached the pinnacle of success in May 1997 by winning the NCAA title for the first time. Pepperdine has made seven appearances at the NCAA Championships since 1993, has made 10 consecutive NCAA Regional berths and has won 16 of the last 22 WCC Championships.
ABOUT PEPPERDINE Â Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won a total of nine NCAA championships in five different men’s sports Â one of just 14 schools to have accomplished this feat. Of the 14, Pepperdine is the only non-BCS school and has by far the smallest enrollment. The majority of Pepperdine’s teams are ranked nationally year after year and compete for conference and national titles.