Matadors Open Spring Season at Pat Hicks Thunderbird Invitational

Feb. 6, 2009

After a solid fall season, Cal State Northridge men's golf plays the first of seven spring tournaments Monday and Tuesday (Feb. 9-10) as the Matadors head to St. George, Utah to take part in the Pat Hicks Thunderbird Invitational at Stonebrook G.C.

Northridge, which posted one first-place finish (Bill Cullum Invitational), one fifth-place finish (Saint Mary's Invitational) and three top-10 finishes during the fall, look to carry that momentum into the spring.

"I was happy with the fall," said head coach Jim Bracken. "Our scoring average (288.1) was one of the lowest we've ever had. We only had one tournament where we finished as low as ninth, but there definitely is room for us to improve."

The 14-team Pat Hicks Thunderbird Invitational is first up for the Matadors and Bracken has high expectations for his squad.

"I would hope that we would have a top-five finish," said Bracken. "It's a good field, Denver is probably the highest ranked team but it's only 36 holes so you don't have a lot of holes to catch-up if you fall behind."

Following the Pat Hicks Tournament, Northridge will play at the All-American Intercollegiate in Spring, Texas (Feb. 23-24), the Braveheart Classic in Beaumont (Mar. 2-3), the Lexus Classic in Fresno (Mar. 9-10), the Anteater Invitational in Laguna Niguel (Mar. 30-31) and the ASU Thunderbird Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. (Apr. 10-11). The spring winds up with the Big West Championship at San Luis Obispo on Apr. 20-21.

"Our schedule this spring will be a good test for us," said Bracken. "We really need to be more consistent and if we play how we're capable of playing we'll have a lot of success."

Bracken singled out the tournaments in Texas, Fresno State and Beaumont as a good challenge for the Matadors.

"All of our spring tournaments will all have tough fields," said Bracken. "We'd like to finish the spring ranked fairly high, hopefully in the top 75, so we can be an automatic team in the NCAA Regionals."

Senior Erik Jarvey (Palmdale, Calif.) led Northridge in the fall with a 71.5 stroke average and had top-10 finishes at Ron Moore Invitational in Denver, Colo. and the Northridge-hosted Bill Cullum Invitational at Wood Ranch G.C. Jarvey finished second by one shot at the Cullum. Sophomore Nick Delio (Valencia, Calif.) finished the fall with a 72.0 stroke average and posted a third place finish at the Ron Moore Invitational and a 16th-place finish at the Pacific Invitational in Stockton. Junior Casey Piper (Simi Valley, Calif.) had a Northridge-best three finishes in the top-20 as he was second at Pacific, 14th at the Bill Cullum and 15th at the Saint Mary's Invitational. Piper wound up the fall with a 72.5 stroke average.

"Some of the guys were a little rusty coming back from the break," said Bracken. "We've worked a lot on our short game lately due to the windy weather in the Northridge area. I thought Jarvey, Delio and Oleson have all played well as we head into our first tournament this weekend."

- GO MATADORS -

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