Golf teams plan to gain confidence during winter hiatus

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Looking forward to spring golf, BYU’s Men’s and Women’s Golf Teams say they are pleased with how far they have come since tournament play started early this fall.

Scoring fifth in first two tournaments of the season and fourth in the third, the Men’s Golf Team was able to pull out a first place finish in their final tourney of 2013 in Stockton, Calif at the Pacific Invitational.

In the off-season before their first 2014 tournament in Arizona Jan 27-28, they plan on having a few team tournaments in St. George and practicing as much as they can.

Sophomore Lea Garner follows through with her swing during an early season invitational. Photo courtesy BYU Athletics
Sophomore Lea Garner follows through with her swing during an early season invitational. Photo courtesy BYU Athletics

“We will start chasing after it in January,” coach Bruce Brockbank said. “Have them play in a couple of amateur tournaments down in St. George before end of January when we start to play our first college event, so there’s not much downtime.”

Highlights of the men’s season included the first place team finish at the Pacific Invitational and a team low score of 26-under-par at that tournament, with three guys in the top five.

Sophomore Joe Parkinson was consistent all season, scoring in the top five in every tournament except for one, when he tied for seventh place at the McKenzie Invitational. He was also named WCC Player of the Month in September.

Jordan Rodgers had a strong season, registering ties for 15th, 40th and finishing out the fall with a tie for 5th place.

Justin Keiley improved immensely after beginning the season with a tie for 57th place. In his final tournament of 2014 he carded a second place tie individually, following teammate Joe Parkinson and securing a first place finish for the team.

In their first two tournaments of the season the Women’s golf team secured 5th place standings, then at Price’s Give Em’ Five they dropped to 12th. In their final stint of the season at the Rainbow Wahine Invitational they were able recover with a 7th place finish.

Highlights of the fall season for the women include a team low of 291 strokes in Wash State despite terrible conditions and an individual win at Hobble Creek from sophomore Lea Garner.

Garner stayed ahead of the pack in most of the Cougar tournaments, grabbing a first place finish and second place tie in the first two events of the season.

Senior Selu Fotu made some great improvements as well, after tying for 53rd at the Hobble Creek Invitational she ended the Rainbow Wahine Invitational Oct 31 with a team-high tie for fourth place, carrying her team to a seventh place finish.

Near the end of the season, freshman Brooklyn Anderson pulled through and had a strong tournament in New Mexico after freshman Annie Yang’s minor tricep injury. Yang is back to 100% going into the winter and expects to prepare as much as possible for spring tournaments.

“[Anderson] threw together three really good rounds and was second on the team,” Roberts said. “As a freshman that’s just clutch. She really stepped up for us.”

The team did not quite perform as well as they had hoped, but they will feed off their positives going into the winter.

“They were a little under my expectations,” coach Carrie Roberts said. “I thought we hassled a lot of our finishes. We were a couple of strokes out of third in two tournaments. I was hoping for some top three finishes instead of top five. We still have a little bit of work to do.”

Early 2014 the team looks forward to hosting a tournament in St. George as well as competing against nationally-known teams at the Bruin Way.

“We play some of the top teams in the country at the Bruin Way on a tough course,” Roberts said.

Until that time comes the ladies expect to gain confidence through working on their individual weaknesses during the winter months.

Roberts said they will work on “trying to keep different shots and get creative, comfortable and confident in shooting different shots. Trying to be better play makers.”

Limited to eight hours a week of skill and team instruction with coaches, both teams will continue to work out and mentally prepare themselves for their return to college play in January.

Look for the men back on the course Jan 27-28 in the Arizona Collegiate in Tucson, hosted by Arizona State University.

The women will be teeing off in the new year at the Matador Invitational in Simi Valley, Calif, hosted by California State University Feb 10-11.

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