Men's Golf Opens Season in New Mexico
MALIBU, Calif. - The Pepperdine men's golf team gets its fall season underway this weekend as the Waves take part in the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate, hosted by New Mexico.
Play will be held on Friday and Saturday (Sept. 11-12), with 36 holes the first day and 18 the next at the UNM Championship Golf Course in Albuquerque, N.M. Live scoring will be provided at www.golfstat.com.
Pepperdine will be competing against 16 other teams: Air Force, Arizona, Baylor, BYU, Campbell, Colorado, UNLV, New Mexico, New Mexico State, North Texas, San Diego State, Texas A&M, UTEP, UT-San Antonio, Utah and Wyoming.
Though class has been in session for just more than a week at Pepperdine, the Waves' players spent much of their summer on the course playing amateur events and should be ready to go.
"I feel really good about the season," said Pepperdine Coach John Geiberger, who begins his 14th season as head coach. "We have a good breakdown of players with experience. We have some seniors who have been around for a while, and some younger players that have done well. It's a good mix from top to bottom, and that's always a positive when you're trying to have a successful season."
Geiberger will be taking a familiar lineup to New Mexico, as the five players going on the trip were all regulars last season at one time or another: seniors Shane Mason and Carl Smith, juniors Austyn Karle and Andrew Putnam and sophomore Josh Anderson.
In fact, it's the exact same quintet that placed third at last year's William H. Tucker.
"We've always played pretty well there," said Geiberger, whose squad won the tournament in 2007. "I don't know if it's how we prepare but the last three or four years we've been pretty successful and have gotten off to a good start."
The Waves are led by Putnam (University Place, Wash./Life Christian Academy), who averaged a team-best 72.74 strokes last season and is at 72.87 for his two seasons, which ranks third all-time at Pepperdine. He earned All-American honors each of his first two seasons and was the West Coast Conference's Player of the Year in 2009. He finished in the top 20 in each of his first 13 tournaments last season before a rough showing at the NCAA South Central Regional.
"Andrew is still learning, and though he fell a little bit at the end of last year, sometimes you have to go one step back before going two steps forward," Geiberger said. "He's such a good player. He has so many tools and is going to have another successful season."
Anderson (Temecula, Calif./Murrieta Valley HS) was second on the team last season with a 73.36 stroke average and joined Putnam on the All-WCC first team. He had a strong finish to the season, tying for fifth place at the NCAA South Central Regional. Mason (San Diego, Calif./St. Augustine HS) was All-WCC honorable mention and averaged 74.52 strokes. Karle (Scottsdale, Ariz./Notre Dame Prep) and Smith (Laguna Beach, Calif./Santa Margarita HS) averaged 75.38 and 76.03 strokes, respectively.
"I was encouraged at the end of last by how Carl and Shane were competing," Geiberger said. "I don't think either one will be content being four or five on the ladder. They've proven themselves, they're both driven and I like that."
2009-10 ROSTER - Last season, the Waves had no seniors, so this season, they haven't added any newcomers. In terms of eligibility, Pepperdine has four seniors, three juniors, one sophomore and one redshirt freshman.
JOHN GEIBERGER - The 2009-10 season marks John Geiberger's 14th 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).
2008-09 RECAP - Andrew Putnam was named the West Coast Conference's Player of the Year and a PING All-American honorable mention. He was joined on the All-WCC first team by Josh Anderson. The Waves tied for third at the WCC Championships and were 12th at the NCAA South Central Regional. They won the Arizona Intercollegiate in February 2009.
PEPPERDINE GOLF HISTORY - 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 11 consecutive NCAA Regional berths and has won 16 of the last 23 West Coast Conference Championships.
ABOUT PEPPERDINE - 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 - 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.