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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | ON THE GREEN: Golf
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County : COLLEGE PREVIEW

Waves and Matadors Young, Are Driven

September 04, 1998|PETER YOON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

After scanning the golf rosters for Pepperdine and Cal State Northridge, you can't help but wonder where the heck all the seniors are.

Of the 34 golfers playing college golf this fall at the two schools, four are seniors. Compare that to 21 freshmen and sophomores and one word comes to mind: rebuilding.

But just because they are young, doesn't mean they won't be competitive.

With most of the same roster last year, Pepperdine's women won the West Coast Conference championship and the Northridge women improved dramatically after a difficult inaugural season the year before.

Youth doesn't translate to inexperience either. Of the 14 sophomores on the four teams, nine saw significant playing time as freshmen.

PEPPERDINE MEN

Freshmen are the big story in Malibu--some very good freshmen.

The arrivals of Jason Allred from Ashland, Ore., and Michael Beard from Palm Desert give the Waves two of the top freshmen in the nation.

Allred, 1997 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, and Beard, who led Palm Desert High to the Southern Section and CIF-SCGA Championships last spring, are AJGA All-Americans.

Add them to a team that features sophomore Bobby Rodger, runner-up in the California Amateur Championship in June, and his twin brother Alex, who had a top-20 finish in the Southern California Golf Assn. Amateur Championship in July, and the Waves have a solid corps of young guns.

"We see this year as a steppingstone to the future," Coach John Geiberger said. "We realize what we have here, now it's just a matter of getting to where we want to go."

The goal, of course, is an NCAA championship, something the Waves brought home in 1997.

Junior Charles Whiteley, the Waves' top returner with a 74.9 stroke average, is the only remaining member of that team, and he played only two rounds that season.

On paper, the Waves are a long way from that goal. Their streak of four consecutive West Coast Conference championships came to an end last year when Santa Clara won and they did not advance to the NCAA West Regional for the first time since 1991.

"It was tough," Geiberger said. "We made some mistakes throughout the year but we got a lot of national experience and that's going to pay dividends."

But with such a strong, young team--sophomore Kelly Craig, who helped Santa Margarita High win the 1997 CIF-SCGA championship and had a 75.87 average for Pepperdine last year also returns--look for the Waves to make some noise in the not too distant future.

PEPPERDINE WOMEN

Jenny Glasgow, Lisa Chang and Ramie Takahashi, the top three players from Pepperdine's West Coast Conference championship team, are back.

Glasgow, who led the team with a 76.68 stroke average last season, was the WCC individual champion and is coming off a tremendous summer. She set a course record by shooting two-under par 70 during the first round of stroke play at the U.S. Women's Amateur championship on Aug. 11.

The junior from Corona del Mar won the Bay Area Classic, finished second in the Colorado State Fall Classic and was 19th at the NCAA West Regional.

She helped the Waves win their first WCC team championship and earn a No. 38 ranking in the final MasterCard Collegiate Golf poll.

Chang, a sophomore, was second on the team with a 76.96 stroke average. As a freshman, she finished second in three tournaments, including the WCC championship. Takahashi averaged 79.64, and finished third at the WCC championship.

"They're the type of players that know their way around a course and they could go very low," Coach Laurie Gibbs said.

Newcomers Esther Chai and Tamie Durdin should help the Waves qualify for the NCAA championships for the first time.

Chai, from West Torrance High, shot 73 and tied for 10th at the CIF-SCGA high school championship last year.

Durdin comes from Australia, where she was the No. 3-ranked amateur in the country. She was one of three players to represent Australia in the 1996 Women's World Amateur Team Championship.

NORTHRIDGE MEN

The Matadors have the talent to compete in the Big Sky Conference, the question is whether or not they can unleash that talent on a consistent basis.

Five times last season, the team posted rounds of 290 or better. But inevitably the bad round came back to bite the Matadors with five other rounds over 310.

"We were way too inconsistent," Coach Jim Bracken said. "We'd go three or four under one day then 15 or 20 over the next. We're looking for a big improvement there."

Anthony Marciano, a junior from Royal High, was an All-Big Sky selection with a 75.16 average. He shot a team season-low round of 68 during the final round of the Big Sky Conference Championship, and finished third.

Tim Wren, a junior from Santa Clara High, had a 76.28 average and two top-10 finishes.

Andy Sirivicha, a sophomore from Westlake High, played six tournaments last year, but had a team-best 31st place at the season-ending Brigham Young Cougar Classic. His 76.6 average was third best on the team.

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