Jan. 26, 2007
The spring campaign of the 2006-07 season for the Loyola Marymount men's golf program will begin with a trip to the PING-Arizona Intercollegiate at the Arizona National Golf Club in Tucson, Ariz., Jan. 29-30. The Lions finished the fall campaign with the best stretch in program history in the regular season, earning back-to-back tournament titles. The Lions claimed wins at the Bill Cullum Invitational hosted by Cal State Northridge on Oct. 29-31 and then at the Hawaii Fall Intercollegiate on Nov. 6-8. Fans can follow the Lions trip to Tucson with live scoring on www.golfstat.com. Recaps, results and a direct link to the live stats will be available on www.LMULions.com.
The Lions will participate in the PING-Arizona Intercollegiate for the first time in school history. Practice round of the tournament begins on Jan. 28 with first and second round action taking place on Monday, Jan. 29. The third and final round will be Jan. 30. Making the trip to Arizona will be Louie Bergna, Jason D'Amore, Josh Escobedo, Brian Locke and Joe Stassi. The tournament will be held at the Arizona National Golf Club, which is a Par-71, 6,900 course. It is a 16 team field, including some of the top powers in collegiate golf. Of the 16 teams, 14 are in the top-100 of the latest GolfWeek.com Ratings. The other teams in the field are Arizona State (No. 25 rating), BYU (19), Cal (55), UC Irvine (53), East Tennessee State (11), Long Beach State (164), New Mexico (51), New Mexico State (93), Oregon (52), Pepperdine (43), UTEP (134), Tennessee (9), UNLV (15) and host Arizona (38) with two squads.
The Lions enter the Arizona Intercollegiate ranked No. 90 in the latest GolfWeek.com ratings (Dec. 6, 2006). It is the highest in season ranking for the program as they enter the tournament winners of their last two tournaments. The Lions (rating of 73.21) are third in the West Coast Conference, trailing No. 43 Pepperdine (71.83) and No. 88 San Diego (73.16). The rest of the league is No. 94 Saint Mary's (73.27), No. 95 San Francisco (73.28), No. 142 Santa Clara (74.26), No. 146 Portland (74.37) and No. 161 Gonzaga (74.51). There are 291 teams in NCAA Division I. The Lions head-to-head record of 41-19 is the best in the WCC. The Lion are 9-11 against teams in the top-100. As for individuals, sophomore Brian Locke is ranked 72 and has a head-to-head record of 347-49-12 in winning both the Bill Cullum and Hawaii Fall Intercollegiate. There are overall more than 2,000 individuals in NCAA Division I men's golf.
For the first time in school history, LMU earned back-to-back tournament victories. The Lions posted a three-round 873 (9-over par) to win the Bill Cullum Intercollegiate hosted by Cal State Northridge on Oct. 29-31 and then posted an even-par 864, their best score on the season, to win the Hawaii Fall Intercollegiate hosted by Hawaii on Nov. 6-8. Sophomore Brian Locke took home individual title honors in both tournaments, winning the field of 87 with a nine-under 207 at the Bill Cullum and then winning in a one-hole playoff with a 10-under 206 at the Hawaii tournament, which had 88 players. The Lions won a pair of tournament titles a year ago, including their first WCC championship. They have now won four tournament titles in the last two years, more than the previous 15 seasons combined.
Sophomore Brian Locke continues to add to his young resume as the 2006 All-American was invited to play in the 32nd annual Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic held in El Paso, Texas, Nov. 19-21. Playing against the best collegiate golf players in the country, Locke shot a final round 74 to finish an even 213 and tied for 19th. He shot a three-under 68 in his second round. The tournament, hosted by the Sun Bowl Association, is played at the Par-71, 6,837-yard El Paso Country Club. Each university is awarded a $1,000 scholarship if a golfer from that school competes in the tournament. It is an invitational only tournament open to those who earned All-America honors in 2005-06.
After leading the Lions to their first ever NCAA Men's Golf National Championship appearance, Brian Locke was named Honorable Mention All-American by the Golf Coaches Association of America. Locke becomes the first-ever men's golfer to earn All-America honors. He led the team with a stroke average of 72. In April he helped the Lions win their first ever West Coast Conference Championship, hitting a final score of six-under par to earn individual title honors. It was the first time a Lion has won the WCC Championships. He also was named the WCC's Player of the Year, the first Lion to do so, and was the third Lion in four years to earn WCC Freshman of the Year. Later that month he became the first golfer to earn LMU Athlete of the Year and LMU Freshman of the Year honors at the annual end-of-year awards banquet. He wasn't finished. He went on to lead the Lions to three of its best rounds in school history as a team to claim a tie for sixth place at the NCAA West Regional. Locke finished fifth at 10-under par as the Lions' earned a trip to the NCAA Men's Golf Championships.
By virtue of their top-10 finish at the NCAA West Regional, the Lions were one of 30 teams to advance to the 109th annual NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship. The championships were held May 31-June 3 at Crosswater Golf Club at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Oregon. The Lions finished the NCAA West Regional with a 17-under par 847 to place in a tie for sixth among the 17-team field at the Omni Tucson National Golf Club. The Lions posted a third-round 282, six-under par. It was the second lowest single round in program history, one shy of Friday's 281. In addition, the three-round total of 847 smashes the previous record of 872 they set in April at the West Coast Conference championship.
The WCC Championships
The Loyola Marymount University men's golf team won the program's first-ever West Coast Conference Championship on April 18 at Saddlecreek Golf Course in Copperopolis, Calif. The Lions finished with a three-round 872, five-strokes better than second place San Francisco to take home the WCC crown and the automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals. LMU freshman Brian Locke finished the three-round tournament with a six-under 210 to win the WCC individual title. LMU finished with three players in the top five as sophomores Jason D'Amore and Josh Escobedo finished in a tie for fourth with three-round scores of 219.
The Head Coach
It is only fitting that a life-long Lion would bring LMU its first golf championship. Alex Galvan was hired in the summer of 2002 as the head coach of the men's golf program at Loyola Marymount University, becoming just the second head coach of the program in 32 years. In his fifth year at the helm of the program, the list of accomplishments is beginning to add up: WCC Co-Coach of the Year (2006), WCC Champions (2006), six All-WCC selections, three WCC Freshman of the Year (2003, 2005, 2006), four tournament titles in two years, Low Three-Round Record (847), four single-round records of 64, and a brand new on campus practice facility, the Thomas Higgins, SJ, Short Game Center. Galvan, a 1982 graduate of Loyola Marymount and a four-year letterwinner for the men's golf program, was a volunteer assistant with the Lions in 2001-02 and became the first full-time coach of the men's golf team in LMU history. Galvan, who was team captain in 1982, comes to LMU from El Cabellero Club where he was an assistant golf professional.