June 11, 2012
SAN DIEGO - San Diego State men's golf head coach Ryan Donovan announced the signing Monday of Austin Kaiser (Atascadero, Calif.), Michael Koeneke (San Diego, Calif.), Xander Schauffele (San Diego, Calif.) and Gunn Yang (Pyeong Chang, South Korea). All four are expected to join the Aztecs this fall for the 2012-13 campaign.
"With the recent success of our program, we were able to reload our roster with a group of very talented players," Donovan said. "My main focus (with this signing class) was on building our team depth. It will allow us to get the best five golfers out on the course and enable us to continue compete at the highest level."
Kaiser comes to The Mesa after a successful two-year career at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, Calif., where he logged two, top-five finishes at the community college state tournament. Last month, he placed fourth overall in the state with his 1-over 143, highlighted by a second-round 70. Kaiser ended the regular season with a 72.60 stroke average and was named the Western State Conference Golfer of the Year. As a freshman, he placed fifth at the state championships and garnered both conference player-of-the-month and Hancock's ESPN Athlete-of-the-week honors. He was seventh at the regional level in 2012 and sixth at the same event the year prior.
Kaiser prepped at Atascadero High in Atascadero, Calif., where he was league MVP and an all-CIF pick as a senior. He was also a three-time team MVP and holds the school record for low round with a 67.
Koeneke returns to San Diego after spending one year at the University of Hawai'i, where he competed in two tournaments, highlighted by a 20th-place performance at the Kaua'i Collegiate Invitational, shooting a 7-over 223. He is a former local standout who graduated from Torrey Pines High School, earning three letters and receiving a spot on the Palomar League first team as a senior. The Falcons were the state, regional and conference champions in 2011, boasting a perfect 37-0 record.
Koeneke won the San Diego Junior Golf Association's Century Club Classic his final prep season and plans on majoring in business at SDSU.
Another San Diego native, Schauffele competed for one year at Long Beach State, where he was tabbed the 2012 Big West Conference Freshman of the Year, as well as an all-league first team honoree. He boasted a season stroke average of 72.36, helping the squad to five tournament titles, its highest ever national ranking and the program's first NCAA tournament appearance in eight years. Schauffele had five top-10 performances, including a victory at the OGIO-UCSB Invitational in early April, where he carded an 8-under 208, and a fourth-place finish at the Bandon Dunes Championship in mid-March.
Schauffele had a decorated high school career, capped by the 2011 state individual title as a senior when he fired a 69 and went on to claim medalist honors in a playoff. The Scripps Ranch High School graduate was Golfweek's 29th-ranked junior in the class of 2011, won the 2011 CIF individual championship and was named both league and San Diego section player of the year.
Schauffele also exceled on the junior golf circuit, where he was 14th at the 2011 Callaway Junior World Golf Championships and advanced to the round of 16 at the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur. He had seven top-five finishes in junior events in 2010.
Yang is a high school senior at Torrey Pines High School in San Diego, where he competed for just one season after moving to the United States from Australia. He was the runner-up at both the Palouse Junior Open (Wash.) and the Coronado City Amateur Championship in 2011, after being ranked 25th nationally at the boys' golf level in Australia. Originally from South Korea, he posted top-15 finishes at the 2010 and 2011 Victorian Junior Masters and was ninth at the 2010 Tasmanian Junior Masters.
The quartet joins three other freshmen who signed with the team last fall in Kevin Ko (Coquitlam, B.C.), Riccardo Michelini (Sassuolo, Italy) and Brian Song (Beverly Hills, Calif.), as well as junior college transfer James Holley (Chatsworth, Calif.) who redshirted this past spring.
The Aztecs advanced to the match play portion of the 2012 NCAA championships, tying for fifth overall for the program's best-ever finish at the Division I level. The team also claimed its second consecutive Mountain West Conference title and was victorious five times overall this past season.
2012 Aztec Men's Golf Spring Signees