BYU men’s and women’s golf teams conclude strong season

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

Both the BYU men’s and women’s golf teams can look back on the 2014–2015 season with satisfaction, but both teams want to improve in the coming season.

Women’s golf

The Cougar women’s golf team showed a strong 2014–2015 campaign, including having the team’s top performer, Lea Garner, compete in the NCAA Regional Championships.

“There were a lot of highlights during the season,” said BYU head coach Carrie Roberts. “We had two individual winners, which shows a lot of work and effort on their part. Our team had some great finishes and some poor finishes. We improve our scoring averages every year, so I am looking forward to how we will perform next season.”

The Cougars finished in the top five in eight of the 12 tournaments they competed in and the top three in five of those events. The team’s best finish was second place, which it achieved both at the Cougar Cup, hosted by the University of Washington, and the BYU Entrada Classic. The Cougars also took fifth place at the West Coast Conference Championships.

BYU had two players on the 2015 All-WCC First Team. Junior Lea Garner and freshman Alexandra White both won individual titles this season and were named WCC Player of the Month for October and March, respectively.

“Alex and Lea’s wins were big highlights,” Roberts said. “I don’t think we’ve ever had two individual winners in a year. Both of their performances were very impressive. For Lea to be able to make regionals shows how hard she works.”

Garner had her best season of her collegiate career. She finished in the top 20 nine times, six of which were top-10 finishes. At the Gold Rush Tournament, she won the individual title shooting par. She shot 69 in four different rounds, twice at the NM Aggie Invitational, where she took fourth place. Garner’s successful season earned her a chance to compete in the 2015 NCAA Regional Championships. She competed in the St. George regional and finished in a tie for 50th.

White missed the fall season due to injury, but she came back strong for the spring competition. In seven tournaments, she finished in the top 20 five times, three of which were top-10 finishes. She won the individual title at the BYU Entrada Classic, where she set a tournament record of 208, including a career-low 67 in the first round. She had the best finish on the team at the WCC Championships with a tie for eighth. White was named WCC Women’s Golf Player of the Month for March.

Senior Maria Yacaman also had a stellar year, both on the course and in the classroom. She was named to the WCC Women’s All-Academic Team for the second-straight year with the highest GPA of a women’s golf student-athlete in 2014–2015. She earned a 3.98 in the information systems program. This season, she finished in the top 20 in four tournaments, her highest finish coming at the Cougar Cup where she tied for eighth.

After a successful 2014–2015 season, the Cougars expect an even better season next year. Key individuals will be returning, as well as developing underclassmen who hope to shine.

In her freshman season, Kendra Dalton showed great potential. She finished in the top 20 in five tournaments. She tied for fourth at the Mountain View Collegiate, which was her best outing of the season. She shot a career-low 69 in that event.

Annie Yang and Carly Oldroyd received honorable mentions on the WCC All-Academic Team. Yang, a sophomore, had her best finish at the Cougar Cup, where she tied for 32nd. Oldroyd finished in the top 20 twice during her junior season, tying for 12th at the Hobble Creek Fall Classic and tying for 19th at the Cowgirl Classic.

Jordan Rodgers watches his drive during a tournament earlier this year.  Rodgers competed in the NCAA Regional tournament.  (byucougars.com)
Jordan Rodgers watches his drive during a tournament earlier this year. Rodgers competed in the NCAA Regional Tournament. (byucougars.com)

Men’s golf

The BYU men’s golf team also celebrated a successful season, especially break-out performer and senior Jordan Rodgers. The team lost some key contributors to graduation and was a little inconsistent in performing throughout the 2014–2015 season but looks to improve and develop younger players.

“There were some good rounds in several of the tournaments we competed in, but we were inconsistent at times,” said BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank. “This season was difficult for us. We struggled all year long with our depth and inconsistency, which happens when you lose your top players.”

The Cougars’ highest finish of the season was third place at the PING Cougar Classic. They also placed in the top five in three other tournaments, nine times in the top 10.

Rodgers led the team all season long, finishing in the top 20 in seven tournament and in the top 10 three times. His best finish was at the PING Cougar Classic, where he took first place individually, shooting five-under-par.

“Jordan Rodgers winning at the Cougar Classic was definitely a highlight,” Brockbank said. “It was fun to see Rodgers show up at the Cougar Classic. It’s never easy to play at your home event. It’s always a challenge with the expectations and family watching, so it was nice to see him win it.”

At The Goodwin, Rodgers shot his lowest total with 206 (67, 68, 71), which put him in a tie for 14th. At the WCC Tournament, Rodgers was named to the 2015 Men’s All-WCC Team. He was also named to the 2014–2015 WCC All-Academic Team.

Rodgers played well enough this season to earn an individual bid to the NCAA Regional Championships in Bremerton, Washington. He finished tied for 46th (+6).

Cole Ogden, another senior, had a solid season, finishing in the top 20 five times, top 10 twice. He tied for fourth (-4) at the Visit Stockton Pacific Invitational, his best finish of the season. He also earned his lowest total at this tournament with 209, shooting 69 in the first round.

Some standout freshmen showed great potential this year. Austin Banz tied for third place at the PING Cougar Classic after shooting his career-low of 212, including 67 in the first round. Zach Pritchard tied for 16th at the WCC Championships, which was the second-best finish for a BYU player. He also tied for 23rd at the Arizona Intercollegiate after shooting four-over-par.

“We all have to get better in every way for next season, the players and the coaches,” Brockbank said. “We have some young kids coming in for next season, and the players in the program know what they have to try to accomplish in the next three months. Hopefully we will be able to start off strong next season.”

Though three seniors will be moving on, the team has a lot of experience under its belt to push for a great season in 2015–2016.

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