March 23, 2006
Santa Clara, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men's golf team will compete in the 60th annual Western Intercollegiate next week, making an appearance in the competition for the fifth time in the past five years. The squad is seeking its fifth tournament championship and its eighth top-five finish of the season. Play at the event, the oldest collegiate tournament on the West Coast, is scheduled for March 27-28 at the 70-par Pasatiempo Golf Course in Santa Cruz.
Joining the Broncos in the event are nine other teams from the state of California: UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, California, Stanford, Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, Saint Mary's, San Diego and host San Jose State. Additionally, the tournament features Texas El Paso, New Mexico State, Kansas, Hawaii, Duke and Denver. Duke leads the field with a No. 14 national ranking followed by California and Denver who stand at No. 45 and No. 47, respectively. Santa Clara is currently ranked 53rd nationally.
The Broncos are coming off of second place finish at the Braveheart Classic two weeks ago, in which the team battled back from 11th place to claim the second spot. Michael Nicoletti shot an under-par round to close the event and claim an individual fifth place finish. Junior Jong Yoon recorded two par rounds to take 23rd place in the field. Nicoletti currently leads the Broncos with a 72.40 round average and five top-five finishes, including three in spring play. Based on national rankings, Nicoletti is positioned eighth among the players in next week's tournament.
Santa Clara has competed in the Western Intercollegiate in each of the past five seasons. Of those appearances, the best performance has been a 12th place finish in 2004. Last season, the team finished 18th in the tournament after rain cancelled the final round of play. The University of Oregon was last year's Western Intercollegiate champion.
The 54-hole tournament is set to begin at 8 a.m. on Monday with 36 holes on that day. On Tuesday, the 18-hole conclusion of the event will take place. Following this weekend's action, Santa Clara will continue play at the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate in San Marcos on April 3-4.