Aloha, Provo. Aloha, Hawaii.
On Feb. 19, the BYU men’s golf team will head to Oahu to compete at the John H. Burns Invitational. The golfers look forward to escaping the Utah cold and expect to achieve what they have practiced all winter.
“I’m feeling pretty good about (the tournament). Our team has been working really hard. I think if we start well, it will carry over,” said BYU golfer Joe Parkinson.
Parkinson, a sophomore from Alpine is the 14th-ranked player in Golf Week Rankings and won the Pacific Invitational last November. He plans for the team to maintain its winning streak as they continue this year’s tournaments.
“Sometimes we have a bit of a hard time starting off, but I think if we start off well we will have a great shot at winning the tournament,” Parkinson said.
Justin Keiley, a senior studying recreation management and youth leadership, has competed in 25 events during his BYU golf career. The Hawaii native has not played in his home state since 2008.
“Last time I played in Hawaii was six years ago, and that was great. My goal then and my goal now is the same: to finish no worse than fifth place, that’s my goal for the semester,” Keiley said.
The invitational, which will be held at Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore, is the second tournament of 2014. The team finished fifth place at the Arizona Collegiate tournament in Tuscon, Ariz., last month.
“We didn’t finish strong,” said coach Bruce Brockbank of the tournament in Arizona. “We need to figure out how to get better for Hawaii.”
Being inside all winter can make it harder for golfers to go back to playing outside. To prepare for the elements, the team plans to get in some extra practice beforehand.
“We’re going a couple days early so we get to play a little first, but mostly we’re just going to play more golf,” Parkinson said. “Coming out of the winter, our short game isn’t so good because we can’t practice chipping or putting inside on the turf. We don’t have a chipping area.”
Keiley agreed with Parkinson. “The wind and the elements definitely make a big difference outside. Hitting off of mats is very different than grass too,” Keiley said. Having been indoors all winter makes it more motivating to get outside again.
“I don’t really like indoors; it’s boring and repetitive. Being outside makes me want to go right then and there. It’s exciting,” Keiley said.
Both Parkinson and Keiley have found strength in their optimism and hard work: two traits they advised their freshman teammates to continue developing.
“Don’t get discouraged if you don’t always do your best,” Keiley said. “Always have a positive attitude toward yourself, no matter what.”
Parkinson agreed about the importance of having faith in oneself. “Stay positive,” Parkinson said. “It’s important for you to mentally learn and grow by staying positive and keeping a positive attitude toward the future.”
After the competition in Oahu, the team will head to Santa Ana, Calif., to compete in the Pepperdine Invitational on Feb. 24.