By Brandon Judd
By BRANDON JUDD
Playing at home for the only time this season, the men”s golf team finished fifth at the PING Cougar Classic Saturday, 16 strokes behind repeat champion Colorado State.
No. 22 BYU struggled both days of the competition, even on their home course. Despite the struggles, the Cougars still found themselves in second heading into the final round. But a rough third round doomed BYU.
“This team played very average,” head coach Bruce Brockbank said. “When we did get a little momentum, we couldn”t get the ball to go in the hole, and that”s how it went all week. That”s college golf.”
One positive for the Cougars was the play of Ron Harvey Jr., who played as a non-scoring individual and tied for second, losing in a playoff to Hawaii”s Matthew Kodama and tying Colorado State”s Martin Laird. Harvey shot a 10-under-par 206, including a career-low 66 in both the first and third rounds.
“He did something he needed to do to get my attention,” Brockbank said. “Winning a college tournament sets a precedence. He”s now done something that a lot of them haven”t done.”
Harvey said he just tried to relax and have fun, and that”s what helped him play so well.
“It was the best college finish I”ve had,” Harvey said. “It was nice to do in front of my family and friends.”
Sophomore Oscar Alvarez and junior Greg Machtaler both tied for eighth with a four-under-par 212. Clay Bingham, also playing an individual, finished one stroke behind the pair in a tie for 10th.
Todd Miller (tied for 35th), Jake Ellison (tied for 40th) and Clay Ogden (tied for 56th) finished off the scoring for BYU.
Machtaler said while it was nice to play at home, the Cougars just didn”t perform, especially in the third round.
“I think we were trying to press too hard, trying to shoot low scores to win this tournament, and it just didn”t happen for us,” Machtaler said.
In-state rival Utah finished fourth, and Southern Utah (seventh), Weber State (13th) and Utah State (15th) also competed in the Cougars” annual tournament.
Brockbank said though this is not like his team, he was proud of them because “they played their guts out.”
“We aren”t getting it done right now, so we need to figure some way to get some momentum,” Brockbank said.
Next up for the team is the Mountain West Conference championships, which start Thursday at the Crosswater Golf Course in Sunriver, Ore.
“Practice, patience and a positive attitude will help with the MWC championships,” Machtaler said.
Following a third-place finish at the MWC championships last week, the BYU women”s golf team was selected Monday to compete in the NCAA Western Regional tournament at Stanford, Calif., May 6-8.
The Cougars were awarded the 15th seed in a 21-team field. Others in the regional include No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 California and No. 4 Ohio State.
Junior Margaret Gibby led BYU at the MWC championships, shooting a one-over-par 214, good enough for fourth place.
It was the team”s best finish at the MWC tournament in four years and the best finish under current head coach Sue Nyhus.