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LOOKING BACK: Third Place Finish for 2007

July 19, 2007

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Briefly
Loyola Marymount University men's golf finished the 2007 season in third place at the annual West Coast Conference championships, missing out on defending their 2006 title by eight strokes. Sophomore Brian Locke earned the individual title for the second year in a row, becoming the first repeat champion in WCC history. He finished two strokes ahead of teamate Jason D'Amore, who was in second at one-over par.

All-American Honors
Sophomore Brian Locke has been named third-team All-American by the Golf Coaches Association of America, who released their annual PING Division I All-America teams. It is Locke's second straight All-America honor, earning honorable mention in 2006. Locke became the first player in LMU golf history to earn All-America honors and he makes a move up to the third-team this season thanks to another record setting year. He won the 2007 West Coast Conference Individual Championship, the first player in league history to become a repeat champion. The win in the WCC tournament was his fourth on the season, taking home the tournament title at the Bill Cullum Intercollegiate (Oct. 31), Hawaii Fall Intercollegiate (Nov. 8), and the Cuesta Title Intercollegiate (Mar. 30). He earned the top individual seed in the NCAA West Regional, his second straight regional appearance. He finished the tournament tied for seventh with a three-round 203. The 13-under par set the school record for low score in 56 holes. He posted rounds of 69, 67 and 67 and was just one of four players in the regional to post three straight rounds under 70. In his career, Locke has played in 23 events, earning a top-20 finish in 20 of those tournaments. He has six tournament wins in six years with 12 top-five finishes. He has a career average of 71.5 after posting a 71.0 this season.

WCCs
Loyola Marymount sophomore Brian Locke repeated as individual champion of the West Coast Conference, defending his crown with a one-under 215 at the 2007 WCC Championships at La Purisima Golf Course. He becomes the first repeat champion in WCC history as he won by two strokes over teammate Jason D'Amore, who finished with a one-over 217. The Lions one-two punch of Locke and D'Amore led the Lions to a third place finish overall as they concluded with a three-round 901. They trailed WCC Champion Pepperdine by eight strokes and second place San Diego by three strokes. The Lions shot a 301 on the final day, third best behind USD and the Waves on the day. After hitting a 77 in the first round, Locke roared back to claim the title with scores of 69 in the final two rounds. He was the only golfer to post a round under 71 and he did it twice. Battling the tough La Purisima championship course that played 7,105 yards and the tough Southern California winds, Locke had nine bogies with just three birdies through the first 27 holes. However, his last 27 were a complete reversal with nine birdies and two bogies. He led the entire field with 12 birdies and was best in the field on par-4 scoring at three-under par. As for D'Amore, he stuck with his patience and was second in the field of 40 with 42 holes at par. He also led the field on par-5 holes, going three-under for the tournament. He added five birdies to his total as he posted his best finish in his three years. Rounding out the Lions' scores in the WCC Championships were Louie Bergna at 234 and in a tie for 27th, Blake Nicolai at 237 and in 33rd and Josh Escobedo at 250 and in 39th. The team effort helped the Lions finished three strokes ahead of Saint Mary's, five ahead of both San Francisco and Santa Clara, 20 better than seventh place Gonzaga and 29 better than Portland.

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.

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), eight 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.

All-Academic
Five Lions are among the honorees as the West Coast Conference announced its spring All-Academic selections this week. The All-Academic team recognizes the league's top student-athletes in the spring WCC-sponsored sports of baseball, golf, tennis, and rowing. Nate Keadle of baseball, Josh Escobedo of golf, Pavla Mesterova of women's tennis, and Courtney Cox and Marni Hietbrink of women's rowing represented LMU as the all-conference selections. Also a junior business administration major, Escobedo (Tucson, Ariz.) is honored for his GPA of 3.04. After winning the WCC Championship with the Lions in 2006, Escobedo finished in the league's top-40 with a 250 at the 2007 championship.

- GO LIONS -