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Conference Race a Tight One

April 16, 2006

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The Loyola Marymount University men's golf team will enter the 2006 West Coast Conference Championships coming off one of the program's most successful regular season. The Lions posted six top-five finishes this season and finished a head of most of the WCC competition in at least one tournament this season. The Lions hope to put it all together as the WCC Championship has arrived and will take place at Saddlecreek Golf Course in Copperopolis, Calif., April 17-18. Heading to the WCC Championships will be freshman Louie Bergna (78.1 average), sophomore Jason D'Amore (73.0), sophomore Josh Escobedo (76.6), senior Chaz Inouye (76.2) and freshman Brian Locke (72.7), who is ranked 89th out of more than 1,000 collegiate golfers.

The WCC Championships
For the second consecutive year the WCC Championships will be place at Saddle Creek Golf Course. Framed by dramatic ridgelines with the towering Sierras in the distance, the Saddle Creek championship course offers five sets of tees, ranging from the PGA tees at 6,826 yards to the forward tees at 4,486 yards. Because there are no parallel fairways, each hole has its own identity. The two-day event will take place on Monday, April 17 through Tuesday, April 18th. This season marks the 39th annual men's championship. Senior Chaz Inouye will be playing in his final WCC Championship. He is one of just three Lions in program history to have a pair of top-10 finishes on his resume. He finished third as a freshman and 8th as a sophomore. Inouye enters the tournament with a 75.8 average in his career. D'Amore in two seasons has a career average of 73.0.

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 73.0 average. D'Amore now leads the team with eight top-20 finishes, and five top-10 finishes. For his career D'Amore has claimed 15 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. This spring, he finished third with a three-under 213 at the Cuesta Title Intercollegiate. It was his team-high third top-5 finish on the season as he leads the Lions with a 72.7 average and is in the running to be LMU's third WCC Freshman of the Year in the last four seasons.

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 75.8 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.