Oct. 27, 2011
San Diego State men's golfers sophomore Todd Baek and senior J.J. Spaun are among 28 of the nation's top collegiate players who have been invited to participate in the 2011 Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic in El Paso, Texas, Nov. 20-22. The Aztec duo will play 54 holes over a two-day period at the El Paso Country Club.
Baek was SDSU's top golfer during the recently completed fall portion of the team's 2011-12 schedule, compiling a 70.11 stroke average with a pair of top-five finishes in three tournaments. This past summer, the Rancho Bernardo High graduate advanced to match play at the 2011 U.S. Amateur and reached the quarterfinals of the 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links championship. Baek capped a phenomenal first collegiate season by being named both a Freshman All-American and a PING honorable mention All-American with nine top-10 finishes, including at the NCAA national championships where he tied for 10th place. The Auckland, New Zealand native is currently ranked 29th in the world amateur golf rankings and is rated 33rd among the nation's top men's collegiate golfers by Golfweek/Sagarin.
Spaun is 18th in the latest world amateur golf rankings after reaching the 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links quarterfinals and competing in the 2011 U.S. Amateur over the summer. The San Dimas, Calif., native had the best season of his Aztec career in 2010-11, tying for third at the NCAA championships, garnering third team All-America honors and capturing all-league honors for the second consecutive year. Spaun was also named the Golfweek National Player of the Week last April when he joined Phil Mickelson as the only players to win back-to-back individual titles at the 39-year old Thunderbird Invitational in Arizona. He is a three-time Mountain West Golfer of the Month and notched a team best 71.79 stroke average last season.
Besides Baek and Spaun, the tournament field also includes six other players ranked in the top 20 of the R&A World Amateur Golf Rankings, including Texas' Jordan Spieth, Washington's Chris Williams, Texas A&M's Jordan Russell, Arkansas' Sebastian Cappelen, Stanford's Andrew Yun and Illinois' Luke Guthrie.
The Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic is one of the nation's oldest collegiate golf tournaments, starting in December 1974. It is the only college event where golfers compete on an individual basis. Some previous individual champions include Ricky Barnes (2000), Notah Begay (1994), David Duval (1991), Matt Kuchar (1999), Davis Love III (1984), Chris Nallen (2003), Jerry Pate (1974), Webb Simpson (2007), Nicholas Thompson (2004) and Tiger Woods (1995). Overall, 144 colleges and universities have been represented at the event. The last Aztec to participate was Aaron Goldberg, who finished as runner-up at the 2007 edition.
With Baek and Spaun's appearance, San Diego State will receive a $1,000 toward its scholarship fund. The tournament has raised almost $700,000 in scholarship money for the participating institutions.
2011 Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic Schedule of Events (times are MST):
Sunday, Nov. 20
Monday, Nov. 21
Tuesday, Nov. 22