Pepperdne Men's Golf Teams Opens 2003-04 Campaign at William H. Tucker Intercollegiate

Sept. 10, 2003

The Pepperdine men's golf team, coming off an appearance at the NCAA West Regional Championships a year ago, opens its 2003-04 season this week when it travels to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to compete in the William Tucker Intercollegiate at the University Golf Course.

The 54-hole tournament being contested at the par-72, 7,354-yard course gets underway on Friday, September 12 with 36 holes. The tournament concludes on Saturday with the final 18 holes.

The 20-team field includes seven teams that are ranked in Golfweek's preseason national Top 25 poll. Arizona State (No. 6), Arizona (11), UNLV (8), North Carolina State (18), Pepperdine (17) and Texas (7) and host New Mexico (20) are all scheduled to compete.

Pepperdine completed the 2002-03 season ranked No. 26 in the final Golfweek poll and begins this year ranked No. 17.

"The William Tucker Intercollegiate is always a great way to begin a season," head coach John Geiberger said. "Traditionally, it is always a strong field playing on a challenging course and you find our right away how you compare to other top teams early in the year."

"I am looking forward to the start of the season and am optimistic that we will be competitive and have the opportunity to compete for a position in the NCAA West Regional Regional Championships with a chance of advancing to the NCAA Championships," Geiberger said.

Junior Michael Putnam leads the Waves into the 2003-04 campaign after tying for 12th place individually at last year's NCAA Championships. Putnam, who finished second at the NCAA West Regional Championships, was tabbed a third team preseason All-American by Golfweek.

In addition to Putnam, who was named the WCC's "Golfer of the Year," the list returners to the team include seniors, Randy Creighton, Michael Diprima, junior Brian O'Flaherty and sophomores Alex Coe, Chris Elliott and redshirt freshman J.J. Wood.

The Pepperdine roster is further bolstered by the addition of Michael Baird (Castlerock, Colorado) and Jordan Nasser (Anaheim Hills, California).

THE PROGRAM: Although historical records are sketchy, Pepperdine fielded its first-ever golf team in the late 1940's or early 1950's. The program was deemphasized in the early 1970's when the school relocated to Malibu, but was reinstituted as an intercollegiate sport in the fall of 1982. In 1987, Pepperdine achieved its first notable success, as the Waves upset several local collegiate powers and claimed the team championship of the Southern California Invitational at the Torrey Pines Country Club in San Diego. Pepperdine won its first-ever West Coast Conference (WCC) title that same year, and Jim Johnson earned a spot competing as an individual at the NCAA Championships-a first-time accomplishment for a Waves' player. Pepperdine has since won the WCC crown a total of 13 times-1987, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003-in the last 17 seasons. Additionally, the Waves have advanced to the NCAA West Regional Championships 10 times since 1992, and earned a spot in the 30-team NCAA Championships field five times in the last 10 years (1993, 1996, 1997, 2000 and 2002). Pepperdine has emerged as a regular in the national Top 25 rankings since 1993, and climaxed the 1997 campaign by winning its first-ever NCAA team title.

John Geiberger: John Geiberger begins his eighth season as the Waves' head coach. During his rookie season in 1996-97, Geiberger directed Pepperdine to its first-ever NCAA men's golf title. A three-year letterwinner at Pepperdine from 1989-91, Geiberger was hired as the University's head men's golf coach in August of 1996. During Geiberger's collegiate career in Malibu, Pepperdine captured West Coast Conference (WCC) titles in 1989 and 1991, and he earned All-WCC accolades in 1990 and 1991. Geiberger earned a bachelor's degree in organizational communications from the University in 1993. In addition to playing in numerous amateur tournaments, Geiberger caddied for his father, Al, on a regular basis from 1991-96 on the PGA Senior Tour. Geiberger was tabbed the 1997 WCC "Coach of the Year" after leading the Waves to the league championship.Geiberger was selected the 1997 National and District 8 "Coach of the Year" by the Golf Coaches Association of America. Pepperdine has won the WCC title each of the last five seasons, and Geiberger has shared the league's "Coach of the Year" award in 1999, 2000 and 2002.

SPORTS INFORMATION HOTLINE: For updated information concerning Pepperdine athletics, including results and a schedule of upcoming events, please contact the Pepperdine Sports Information Hotline at 310-506-7373. The hotline will be updated on a regular basis throughout the course of the 2002-03 school year.

ON THE WEB: For updated information concerning Pepperdine athletics on the Internet, including results and a schedule of upcoming events, please bookmark the following address:

FOR MORE INFORMATION: For additional information on the men's golf program, or to arrange interviews with players and the coaching staff, please contact Al Barba at the Pepperdine Sports Information Office by calling (310) 506-4445.



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