Sept. 9, 2007
Los Angeles, CA (Sept. 9) - The 2007-08 campaign for the Loyola Marymount University men's golf team will begin at the 2007 Saint Mary's Invitational on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 10-11 at the Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, CA. It will be the Lions second trip in three years to the SMC Invitational, playing in the tournament during the Lions' championship season of 2006.
The tournament will have a field of 95 players from 18 schools. There are eight conferences represented which include teams from LMU's West Coast Conference (Saint Mary's, San Francisco and Santa Clara), the Big 12 Conference (Baylor, Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska), the Big 10 Conference (Wisconsin), the Western Athletic Conference (Nevada and San Jose State), the Big West Conference (Long Beach St.), and Conference-USA (Houston, Memphis, and UAB), the Mid-American Conference (Eastern Michigan and Miami (OH)), and the ?Southland Conference (Texas-Arlington).
LMU took eighth out of 18 teams overall and second among WCC schools in their last trip to the SMC Invite, which came in April of 2006. LMU's two-time All-American Brian Locke and two-time first-team All-WCC performer Jason D'Amore tied for 16th overall.
Entering the 2007-08 season, both Locke and D'Amore will once again combine for the Lions' one-two punch. Locke enters the season ranked 46th by GolfWeek.com, the highest ranked player in the WCC. The only two-time individual champion in WCC history led the Lions with a 71.3 average and enters his junior season with a career 71.6, best in LMU history.
D'Amore, entering his fourth and final season at LMU, has placed in the top-five in the WCC individual race the last two seasons, finished two strokes behind Locke a year ago as they finished one-two. D'Amore posted a 73.4 average in 2006-07 and has a career 73.2 average.
After the experience of their one-two punch, LMU will look to a young supporting cast to get them back to the WCC title they claimed in 2006. Senior Josh Escobedo, who finished in the top-five in the 2006 championship, will look to get back to that form after posting a 77.2 average as a junior.
Junior Louie Bergna, a member of the Lions' top-five the last two seasons, played 33 rounds in 2007 and had an average of 77.1 a year ago. Fellow junior Joe Stassi played 17 rounds a year ago and walk-on sophomore Blake Nicolai played 15, including an appearance in the 2007 WCC Championships. Sophomore Brandin Cohen also returns after three rounds in 2007.
Rounding out the Lions roster this season will be newcomers John Lim, Greg Moss and Bryan Martin. Moss and Martin are junior college transfers and are expected to challenge for spots in the Lions' top-five.
??About the course:? Poppy Hills Golf Course is a par-72, 6,833-yard championship layout ?located in Pebble Beach, CA. The course rating is 74.2, the slope is?144, and the course record of 62 was shot by Matt Gogel. Since 1991, Poppy Hills Golf Course has been one of the three courses ?played in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. The 1991 NCAA Men's ?Golf Championships was hosted at Poppy Hills GC, as well as the 1998 WAC? Women's Golf Championship and the 1999 WAC Men's Championships. Poppy ?Hills is also the home for the Northern California Golf Association (NCGA).??