April 7, 2006
The Loyola Marymount University men's golf team will play in their final tune-up before the West Coast Conference Championships (April 17-18) when they head to the Saint Mary's/Merrill Lynch Invitational at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, CA on Monday and Tuesday, April 10-11. The 19-team, 100-player tournament will feature six of the eight WCC teams. Traveling for the Lions will be Louie Bergna, Jason D'Amore, Josh Escobedo, Chaz Inouye, and Brian Locke.
Saint Mary's Invite
The tournament, which is being played at the home of the Northern California Golf Association (NCGA), will be 54 holes, 36 on the first day and 18 on day two. The Saint Mary's/Merrill Lynch Invitational is being played at Poppy Hills Golf Course for the first time ever. When the tournament tee's off on Monday, it will mark the end of a nine-year drought for the SMC Invitational. The last time SMC hosted a tournament was in 1997 when the SMC Invitational was played at the Oakhurst Country Club in Clayton, CA. In addition to LMU and host Saint Mary's, the tournament field will include West Coast Conference rivals Gonzaga, Santa Clara, Portland, and San Francisco. The remainder of the 19-team field includes four programs from the Big West (CSU Northridge, Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Riverside), three teams from the Western Athletic Conference (Fresno State, Boise State, and Idaho), and two from the Big Sky (Sacramento State and Weber State), Atlantic 10 (Saint Joseph's and Xavier), and Southland (UT-Arlington and Lamar) conferences.
On a Roll
Jason D'Amore was been named the West Coast Conference Golfer of the Month for March thanks to his impressive play in three tournaments. D'Amore becomes the first Lion in recorded history of the program to win WCC Golfer of the Month honors. The reigning Freshman of the Year in the WCC had a breakout March, winning the second tournament of his career and lowering his season average by an entire stroke in the month. He started the month with a ninth place finish out of 106 golfers at the Braveheart Classic, hitting rounds of 72, 72 and 76 for a four-over 220. He then won his second tournament of his career thanks in large part to an opening round of 66 at the 2006 Callaway Golf Invitational against 84 other golfers. He finished with rounds of 72 and 71 for a final seven-under 209. He finished the month with a three-over 219, hitting a 69 in the opening round to place 20th out of 79. He averaged a 72 on the month and is second on the team with a 72.7 average. D'Amore now leads the team with seven top-20 finishes, and five top-10 finishes. For his career D'Amore has claimed 14 top-20 finishes and 11 top-10.
More First-Year Success
Thanks to 17 birdies in the first round of the 2005 Santa Clara Invitational, Loyola Marymount University men's golfer Brian Locke took home the individual title, posting a final round 73 to finish at a 11-under par for the tournament. Locke tied a course record and tied an LMU program single round record with his opening round 64. His 64 equaled the mark held by teammate Jason D'Amore and Nicolas Beauvy (1981). His total score of 205 is the second-best 54-hole total in program history, just two strokes behind D'Amore's 203 set a year ago. In the last tournament he finished third with a three-under 213. It was his team-high third top-5 finish on the season as he leads the Lions with a 72.2 average.
Starting it All
Senior Chaz Inouye, the first recruit by Head Coach Alex Galvan, started all the success for freshman by the Lions. He was the first Lion to be named West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year thanks to his program-best third place finish at the WCC Championships, shooting a three-round 215. He became only the second Lion in program history to post two top-10 finishes at the WCC Championships, taking eighth with a 219 as a sophomore. Only Mike Stiefel (1984, 85) had done it before. Inouye, a senior for the Lions who is third on the squad with a 75.9 average, is a two-time All-WCC selection, earning first-team honors in 2003 and honorable mention honors in 2004. He is the only Lion to have two all-conference honors in his career.