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Lions Head North for Final Tune-up

March 26, 2007

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Briefly
Loyola Marymount men's golf will play in their final tournament leading into the West Coast Conference Championships in April with a trip to the 2007 Cuesta Title Cal Poly Intercollegiate on March 29-30. This will be the fourth straight year the Lions will travel to San Luis Obispo for the annual tournament, which is held at Cypress Ridge Golf Course in Arroyo Grande, Calif.

Cal Poly Intercollegiate
The Lions will participate in the 17-team Cuesta Title Intercollegiate with two rounds on Thursday and the final round on Friday. This year's field includes Cal State Northridge, Cal State San Marcos, Claremont-McKenna, DePaul, Gonzaga, Idaho, Idaho State, Portland, Sacramento STate, San Francisco, UC Riverside, Utah State, Utah Valley State, LMU and host Cal Poly. Cypress Ridge Golf Course is a par-72, 6761 yard course in Arroyo Grande. A year ago the Lions finished fourth out of 15 teams with a team score of 874, the lowest on the year for LMU prior to the WCC Championships. Brian Locke finished fourth of 79 players with a 213.

GolfWeek.Com Ratings
Sophomore Brian Locke is ranked as one of the top golfers in collegiate golf as he has a ranking of 68 according to GolfWeek/Sagarin Perofrmance Index. He has a head-to-head record of 570-111-17 in winning both the Bill Cullum and Hawaii Fall Intercollegiate. He is 8-16-1 against players in the top-25, 14-22-2 against those in the top-50 and 24-39-2 against the top-100. As a team, the Lions are ranked 107th.

Hole In 1
Josh Escobedo aced the 6th hole at Big Canyon Country Club in the final round of the Anteater Invitational on Feb. 28. The hole was 233 yards over water and was playing into 30-35 MPH winds It was Escobedo's first hole-in-one, and according to Fr. Thomas Higgins, LMU golf head coach for 32 years, it the fourth hole-in-one in competition. Those doing it prior to Escobedo are JH Reed (1979), Mike Stiefel (1988), and James Dunn (1999).

Bang-Bang
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.

Last Time Out
The Loyola Marymount University men's golf team took ninth place out of 16 teams at the 2007 USF Triumph at Pauma Valley on Tuesday. The Lions posted a final round 309 to finish with an 893 at Pauma Valley Country Club. Junior Jason D'Amore finished in a tie for eighth with a 216. Sophomore Brian Locke was right behind in a tie for 13th with a 217. Sophomore Louie Bergna posted a 229 for a tie at 52nd. Junior Josh Escobedo was fourth for the Lions with a 234, sitting at a tie for 69. Freshman Blake Nicolai was 71st with a 235.

Individual Classic
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. Each university is awarded a $1,000 scholarship if a golfer from that school competes in the tournament.

All-American
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 WCC 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. 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.

NCAA 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
LMU 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.

-GO LIONS-