April 13, 2007
Malibu, Calif. -
After having its reign of seven consecutive titles snapped last year, the Pepperdine men's golf team will be in search of its 16th West Coast Conference (WCC) championship and 12th in the last 14 years when it opens play at the WCC Championships on Monday.
LIVESCORING: All 54 holes of the WCC Championships can be followed live on the Internet at www.Golfstat.com.
THE COURSE: All eight member teams will compete at the par-72, 7,105-yard La Purisima Golf Course in Lompoc, California. This year marks the first time the WCC Championships will be held at La Purisima after the previous two were contested at the Saddle Creek Golf Course in Copperopolis, California. The tournament format calls for 36 holes to be played on Monday with the final 18 slated for Tuesday.
THE FIELD: The eight-team field includes Gonzaga, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, Portland, Saint Mary's, San Diego, San Francisco and Santa Clara.
Loyola Marymount is the defending champion after capturing its first-ever men's golf title. The Lions shot a 54-hole score of 872 to post a five-shot victory over second place San Francisco (877). Pepperdine placed a disappointing fifth, its lowest showing since a fourth-place finish in 1998. LMU's Brian Locke became the first Lion in WCC Championship history to claim individual medalist honors when he carded a 6-under par score of 210 to register a three-shot win over San Francisco's Ryan Gonzalez. Sophomore Michael Baird was the top individual performer for Pepperdine, finishing 12th with an 8-over par score of 224.
Four teams - Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, Saint Mary's and Santa Clara - advanced from the WCC Championships to compete in the NCAA West Regionals, with the Lions and Waves advancing to the NCAA Championships in Sunriver, Oregon.
The winner of this year's WCC Championship will earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals.
LAST TIME OUT: Pepperdine was last on the course at the National Invitational Tournament at The OMNI Tucson National Golf Course in Tucson, Arizona, April 2-3 and finished 14th. Arizona State captured the team title with a 24-under par score of 840 to register an eight-shot victory over UCLA (848). Pepperdine shot a 54-hole score of 18-over par 882. Arizona State's Niklas Lemke took individual medalist honors with a 9-under par score of 207. Junior Jesse Barnsley was the top individual performer for Pepperdine, tying for 29th at 2-over par 218.
SHRIVER LEADS WAVES: Junior Eric Shriver leads Pepperdine with a 73.42 stroke average while completing 31 rounds. Shriver has five Top 20 finishes, including three Top 10s. His best finish was a tie for eighth at The Club Glove Intercollegiate in October. He also finished first at the Georgia State-Pepperdine Challenge in March after shooting a 3-under 69.
PEPPERDINE INKS THREE PLAYERS TO LETTERS OF INTENT: Head coach John Geiberger signed three players to letters of intent during the early signing period. Geiberger announced the signings of Josh Anderson (Murrieta, CA / Murrieta Valley HS), Richard "Austyn" Karle (Scottsdale, AZ / Notre Dame Prep) and Andrew Putnam (University Place, WA / Life Christian Academy). Anderson was tabbed the Southern California PGA Junior Player of the Year based on scoring average, while Karle won the 2006 Arizona State High School individual championship. Putnam, the younger brother of former Pepperdine All-American Michael Putnam, captured the 2006 Washington State Individual state title, was a semi-finalist at the USGA Junior Boys Championships and was a second team AJGA All-American.
PEPPERDINE RECRUIT NAMED TO U.S. WORLD JUNIOR TEAM: Andrew Putnam, who signed a letter of intent last November to attend Pepperdine beginning in the fall, was one of four players selected to represent the United States at the 2007 World Junior Golf Team Championship June 19-22 in Toyota City, Japan.
PROGRAM RANKED NO. 3: An NCAA Championship and two other Top 10 finishes at the NCAA Championships within the span of 10 years has helped catapult Pepperdine to No. 3 in Golf Digest's ranking of the Top 10 golf colleges in the country. It marks the second straight year that Pepperdine's men's golf team has been ranked in the Top 10. Five criteria form the basis of the rankings: a college golf team's adjusted scoring average, player growth while on the team, academics, climate and coaches/facilities.
THE PROGRAM: Although historical records are sketchy, Pepperdine fielded its first-ever golf team in the late 1940's or early 1950's. The program was deemphasized in the early 1970's when the school relocated to Malibu, but was reinstituted as an intercollegiate sport in the fall of 1982. In 1987, Pepperdine achieved its first notable success, as the Waves upset several local collegiate powers and claimed the team championship of the Southern California Invitational at the Torrey Pines Country Club in San Diego. Pepperdine won its first-ever West Coast Conference (WCC) title that same year, and Jim Johnson earned a spot competing as an individual at the NCAA Championships--a first-time accomplishment for a Waves' player. Pepperdine has since won the WCC crown a total of 15 times--1987, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005--in the last 20 seasons. Additionally, the Waves have advanced to the NCAA Regional Championships 14 times since 1992, and earned a spot in the 30-team NCAA Championships field seven times in the last 13 years (1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006). Pepperdine has emerged as a regular in the national Top 25 rankings since 1993, and climaxed the 1997 campaign by winning its first-ever NCAA team title.
John Geiberger: John Geiberger is in his 11th season as the Waves' head coach. During his rookie season in 1996-97, Geiberger directed Pepperdine to its first-ever NCAA men's golf title. A three-year letterwinner at Pepperdine from 1989-91, Geiberger was hired as the University's head men's golf coach in August of 1996. During Geiberger's collegiate career in Malibu, Pepperdine captured West Coast Conference (WCC) titles in 1989 and 1991, and he earned All-WCC accolades in 1990 and 1991. Geiberger earned a bachelor's degree in organizational communications from the University in 1993. In addition to playing in numerous amateur tournaments, Geiberger caddied for his father, Al, on a regular basis from 1991-96 on the PGA Senior Tour. Geiberger was tabbed the 1997 WCC "Coach of the Year" after leading the Waves to the league championship. Geiberger was selected the 1997 National and District 8 "Coach of the Year" by the Golf Coaches Association of America. Pepperdine has won the WCC title each of the last seven seasons, and Geiberger has shared the league's "Coach of the Year" award in 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2005.
ON THE WEB: For updated information concerning Pepperdine athletics on the Internet, including results and a schedule of upcoming events, please bookmark the following address: http://www.PepperdineSports.com.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: For additional information on the men's golf program, or to arrange interviews with players and the coaching staff, please contact Al Barba at the Pepperdine Sports Information Office by calling (310) 506-4445.