By Brandon Judd
Playing for the first time in three and a half months, the BYU men”s golf team placed fifth at the John A. Burns Invitational this weekend.
The No. 19 Cougars went into the clubhouse in third place after the first round, then dropped to seventh on the second day. A third-round score of 281 lifted BYU to their fifth-place finish.
Arizona took home first-place honors with a score of 833, 15 strokes ahead of the Cougars” final tally of 848. Mountain West Conference foes UNLV and New Mexico finished second and third, respectively.
“We had a chance to do better,” head coach Bruce Brockbank said. “But we”ll just chalk it up as a good performance.”
Junior Todd Miller led the Cougars on the final day, shooting a five-under-par 67. He finished the tournament tied for 22nd in the individual standings, shooting 71-74-67 to finish with a score of 212.
Miller, who said he was frustrated after a rough first two rounds, started the final day with birdies on the first three holes.
“I got excited and built up some confidence,” he said.
Freshman Jake Ellison led the way for the Cougars, finishing with a three-day total of 68-70-72-210, good enough for 13th place overall. Clay Ogden (70-72-70-212) also tied for 22nd place.
Oscar Alvarez (70-73-72-215) and Greg Machtaler (71-73-73-217) finished off the scoring for BYU. Competing as individuals for the Cougars at the invitational were Ron Harvey Jr. (73-75-76-224) and Clay Bingham (75-75-76-226).
New Mexico”s Spencer Levin took home individual first-place honors, shooting a 67-65-69-201.
The fifth-place finish was an improvement from BYU”s eighth-place finish at the Burns Invitational last season. The Cougars won the tournament in 2000.
“I really like our team,” Miller said. “Everyone is always in it. We”re hard on ourselves, but we keep at it.”
The Cougars return to action March 1-2 at the Cleveland Golf Classic in Westlake Village, Calif.