Men’s golf avoids letdown, advances to NCAA Championships

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    The BYU men?s golf team advanced to the NCAA Championship for the second consecutive year as they secured a sixth-place finish at the NCAA West Regional at the Stanford University Golf Course on Saturday.

    The Cougars met their goal of qualifying for the championship finals, but it was not without several nervous moments. With only the top 10 teams advancing from the 27-team field, BYU had a brush with disaster before playing strong down the stretch. The 12th-ranked and No. 7 seed Cougars began the day in second place, but after nine holes, they were already 14-over-par and fading to possible elimi-nation.

    When BYU made the turn, 13th-year head coach Bruce Brockbank knew qualifying for the NCAA Championship wasn?t going to be easy. On the last nine holes the pars finally turned into birdies and double-bogies turned into pars as the Cougars found a way, for the third consecutive round, to finish strong. As a team, BYU finished the final nine holes just two-over-par on a difficult golf course.

    ?Everyone of our guys hung in there today,? Brockbank said. ?We came here to win, but before we knew it, we were just trying to hang on and survive. This team played awesome the first two days and on the final nine holes and that?s why were going to the NCAA Championship.

    UNLV captured the team championship at six-over-par followed by fifth-ranked New Mexico. BYU finished the tournament at 18-over-par thanks to their 16-over-par final round.

    WOMEN?S GOLF

    The BYU women?s golf team played their best round of the tournament and finished 24th at the 2005 NCAA Golf Championship in Sunriver, Ore., on Friday.

    During the fourth and final round, BYU carded a team-total 300, its best of the tournament. The Cougars also broke a 23-year-old record for team total in a 72-hole tournament. The previous record of 1267 set in 1982 was erased as BYU finished with a four-round total of 1238, a difference of 29 strokes. With the result, BYU also earns its first top 25 finish in 20 years and its second-best NCAA Championship finish ever.

    ?It?s been a great experience playing in this tournament,? Nyhus said. ?Our returning players played hard and gained priceless ex-perience. Having been in this tournament will move our program forward.?

    Sophomore Rachel Newren led the Cougars for the ninth consecutive tournament this season as she finished tied for 68th overall.

    BASEBALL

    San Diego State won its final regular home baseball game of the season Friday with a 12-1 victory over BYU. The Aztecs locked up third place with a 23-33 overall record and a 17-13 mark in the Mountain West Conference, while second-place BYU finishes the regular season at 37-17-1 and 21-9 in the league.

    The Cougars stranded three runners at third base during the game as both teams left 10 runners on the base paths.

    ?Unfortunately we weren?t able to get anything mounted,? BYU coach Vance Law said. ?We didn?t come out with the same inten-sity. Everybody was waiting for somebody else to make it happen. I don?t fault our effort, but it didn?t seem to click today. We had a solid outing down here and hopefully we are able to carry some momentum into next week.?

    On Thursday, Lance Beus pitched BYU to a 4-3 victory over San Diego State in a pitchers dual. Beus struck out nine, while only giving up two earned runs in 7 2/3 innings of work.

    BYU now plays this Thursday in the opening round of the MWC Tournament in Salt Lake City and its opponent will likely be SDSU again. SDSU plays on Wednesday in the opening day of tourney action.

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