CARLSBAD, Calif. – Senior Colten Cordingley entered the final day of the inaugural UC San Diego Invitational at La Costa (Champions Course) one shot off the lead, but carded a final-round of 74 (+2) to finish tied for first with San Diego State’s Liam Koeneke.
Koeneke went on to beat Cordingley on the third playoff hole to earn medalist honors, but the solid play on Tuesday from the native of Rexburg, Idaho, helped guide Utah State to a first-place finish with a 29-over par 893 (299-294-300) on the difficult champions course. Southern Utah finished three strokes back of the Aggies at 33-over 897 (306-294-297).
“Winning a college event has always been a goal of mine,” Cordingley said. “I don’t love that it has a T next to the 1, but at the same time, I worked hard all week and am happy with the outcome. The highlight of the week is definitely taking home some hardware. It is always a great feeling when you see hard work pay off. I am proud of the team and I know we are going to take a lot of confidence away from this.”
Overall, this is Utah State’s first tournament victory since Feb. 11, 2020, when the Aggies won the SUU-hosted Pat Hicks Thunderbird Invitational. According to available records, it is also just the second time Utah State has ever won a tournament on California soil, along with its victory at the CSUN-hosted Bill Cullum Invitational in October, 2017.
“Spring seasons are tough and always have been,” Cordingley said. “The guys have been very good at using all possible resources we have to try and practice and get better. It’s not very convenient to be able to work hard, and we were having to drive 30 minutes to an hour south just to find grass earlier in the year before the Logan courses opened up. However, we have been diligent and eager to get better.”
It is certainly paying off this spring for the Aggies as they have finished no worse than fourth in the three tournaments they have played in.
Andy Hess also finished in the top 10 for Utah State at the UC San Diego invite. The senior shot a 5-over 77 on Tuesday to put him at 6-over 222 (72-73-77) to finish the tournament tied for sixth. He ranked second in par-3 scoring at 1-under (2.92 average).
“I am extremely happy for them,” USU head coach Dean Johansen said. “I was telling the guys the other day that they work so hard to work hard, if that makes sense. They have had to hit balls at 7:30 in the indoor facility and drive an hour just to find grass to play on.
“All their hard work is paying off, though. This is probably the sharpest I have seen them come out of winter time. They have worked hard and deserve this team title.”
The Aggies led the field in par-5 scoring and tied CSUN for the most birdies with 35. Individually, Cordingley led the field in par-5 scoring at 5-under (4.38 average), and tied for fourth with 10 birdies.
Cordingley carded rounds of 73 (+1) and 71 (-1) on Monday’s 36-hole day, giving him a 3-day total of 2-over 218.
Freshman Javier Vazquez shot the lowest score of the third round by an Aggie at 1-under 71, which is his best one-round score this season, to bring his final total to 10-over 226 (80-75-71). Vazquez tied for 15th, climbing 10 spots on Tuesday, for his best-ever finish during his young Utah State career.
“He played great,” Johansen said of Vazquez. “He’s finally setting in and learning to play team golf.”
Also for the Aggies, fifth-year Chase Lansford carded a 6-over 78 on Tuesday and finished the tournament tied for 27th at 15-over 231, while redshirt junior Jesse Henderson finished tied for 36th at 24-over 240.
The Aggies’ next tournament will be on Monday and Tuesday, April 5-6, at the Wyoming Cowboy Classic in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Fans can follow Utah State’s golf program on Facebook at facebook.com/USUMensGolf and on Twitter at @USUMensGolf.
UC San Diego Invitational
Date: March 22-23
Host Course: La Costa (Champions Course)
1. UTAH STATE – 299-294-300=893 (+29)
2. Southern Utah – 306-294-297=897 (+33)
T3. UC Santa Barbara – 308-292-304=904 (+40)
T3. UC Irvine – 310-295-299=904 (+40)
5. CSUN – 313-301-307=921 (+57)
T1. Colten Cordingley, USU – 73-71-74=218 (+2)
T1. Liam Koeneke, SDSU – 70-73-75=218(+2)
T3. Amadeo Figus, SDSU – 74-73-73=220 (+4)
T3. Jake Vincent, SUU – 74-71-75=220 (+4)
T3. Brandon Bueno, UCSB – 72-73-75=220 (+4)
UTAH STATE INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
T1. Colten Cordingley – 73-71-74=218 (+2)
T6. Andy Hess – 72-73-77=222 (+6)
T15. Javier Vazquez – 80-75-71=226 (+10)
T27. Chase Lansford – 78-75-78=231 (+15)
T36. Jesse Henderson – 76-81-83=240 (+24)