The Cal State Northridge men’s golf team will compete in the Big West Championships today and tomorrow at Tijeras Creek Golf Club in Rancho Santa Margarita. The Matadors, one of nine teams competing in the tournament, will play 36 holes of golf today and 18 holes tomorrow.
Freshman Nick Delio, Chris Satterlee, Aaron Hobbs, Erik Jarvey and Clint Oleson are competing in the tournament for CSUN. Delio ranks as the top golfer for the Matadors, with 11 tournaments under his belt for the 2007-08 season and an average of 72.1 strokes per round. Satterlee is second with an average of 73.8 strokes and Hobbs is third with a 74.7 average.
“This is probably one of the most talented teams I’ve ever had,” said head coach Jim Bracken. “We have a lot of depth on the team this year. They’ve all pushed each other to get better.”
Qualifying for the championship team was based on results from last week’s Arizona State University Thunderbird Invitational at the Karsten Golf Course in Arizona, where Northridge finished its regular season with a 13th place finish. The Matadors shot a three-round 882 (297-300-285), finishing much stronger than they began, but not enough to move into the top ten.
The Sun Devils won the tournament at 843 (279-279-285) and their “B” team placed second at 852 (279-286-287). Texas A’M scored a 859 (287-289-283), tying for third with Colorado State University (280-288-291).
The individual title went to Espen Kofstad of the University of Denver. Kofstad shot a three-round 210 (70-72-68) ASU’s Knut Borsheim placed second with a 211 (73-68-70) and Riley Arp of Colorado State University placed third with a 212 (70-70-72).
Junior Erik Jarvey had the best individual finish for the Matadors, placing 24th at 4-over, 217 (72-76-69). Jarvey’s final round 69 tied his season low. Delio tied for 31st at 6-over, 219 (76-72-71) and Satterlee tied for 40th at 8-over, 221 (72-75-74). Oleson shot rounds of 77-77-71 for a +12, 225 and a tie for 65th place with Hobbs, who competed as an individual. Hobbs finished at 12-over, 225 (78-76-71). Nicolson tied for 85th at 30-over, 243 (80-79-84).
The Matadors are coming off a successful season in which they won their first tournament in eight years. CSUN blasted past the competition at the OGIO Pacific Coast Intercollegiate in Santa Barbara on March 31 – April 1, winning by 20 shots with a three-round 3-over, 855 (282-286-287).
Delio placed second individually, finishing at 6-under, 207 and Jarvey finished third at 2-under 211 72-70-69). Hobbs played the tournament as an individual and finished in fourth place with a 1-over, 214 (68-68-78). Satterlee tied for ninth at 4-over, 217 (72-71-74). Nicolson finished at 12-over, 225 (74-76-75) and tied for 34th with John Gilles, playing as an individual with rounds of 73-75-77.
Bracken said that the qualifying throughout the year has often been as competitive as the actual tournaments.
“They all – even the guys not in the lineup – they’ve all shot under-par,” Bracken said. “When you have ten guys that can shoot under-par, that’s pretty good.”
This season also saw two Matadors winning individual titles: Delio and Nicolson.
Delio won the Santa Clara Invitational in Oct., for CSUN’s first individual title in seven years. Delio won the tournament by six strokes with rounds of 69-67-67 for a three-round total of 13-under, 203.
“He’s probably the best freshman I’ve ever had,” Bracken said.
Nicolson won the GADO North Texas Classic on Feb. 17-18 after carding a nine-under, 207 (69, 71-67).
Bracken said if Delio performs well at the championships, he could become the all-time leader in scoring average in school history. Delio currently has a 72.1 stroke per round average.
“Our team has been led all year by Nick,” Bracken said. “Satterlee has been solid all year.”
Bracken said Jarvey has started to play very consistent golf and Oleson is peaking at the right time. Hobbs, one of the team’s captains, is also expected to deliver good results, Bracken said.
The Matadors head into the championships are the number three seed. UC Irvine is the defending champion and the number one see. Bracken, however, said that the competition in the conference is so tough that there are probably six teams capable of winning.
“We definitely have the ability to win,” Bracken said. “I feel good. The guys are excited about going.”