2006 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year, Jake Ellison enters his final season at BYU. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
For three consecutive seasons, the Cougars have finished among the top 15 at the NCAA Championships. After a promising fall season, the No. 19 BYU men's golf team is hoping to make it there once again, this time bringing home its second national championship.
With the talent of five returning members of last year's top-15 team and five freshmen, this is a group that has the talent to do so.
"The combination of a lot of new faces and several returning starters is fun to watch," BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank said. "We have the potential to do some great things this year. I'm excited about this spring because I feel like we are improving as a team. I hope we continue to develop throughout the spring and peak at the national championship."
Leading the way for BYU this season is junior Daniel Summerhays, who has posted the best stroke average on the team this fall at 69.3. Summerhays gained national media attention in October at the PING Preview when he tied an NCAA record for the lowest round by a college golfer. His final round of 60 not only tied the NCAA record, but also broke the course record at the Golden Horseshoe Country Club in Richmond, VA, host course for the 2007 NCAA Men's Golf National Championship. Ranked No.11 individually by Golfweek.com, Summerhays finished in the top 10 in all four fall tournaments this season. He was also named Golf World's Most Improved Player and named to its Mid-Season All-American First Team in November. Summerhays ability to continue his top form is a key to the Cougars success this spring.
After an impressive seven top-20 appearances in his junior year, senior Clay Ogden continues to help lead the Cougars to victory. This fall, Ogden earned his first career collegiate victory at Pacific Invitational where his twelve-under-par total edged out teammate Summerhays by one stroke. The former U.S.Public Links Champion has the team's second-lowest stroke average at 71.5. and was named the Golfweek.com Player of the Week in November.
2006 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year, Jake Ellison is another Cougar to watch this season. Ellison, a senior from St. George, Utah, competed in 14 tournaments during the 2005-2006 season with seven top-20 appearances. A two-time Honorable Mention All-American, Ellison is always capable of scoring well for the Cougars. In 2005-06 he had seven top 10 finishes and was ranked among the top-25 golfers in the nation by Golfweek.com.
After winning the 2005 Mountain West Conference Championship, senior Nick Becker continues to be another strong asset for the Cougars. Already in the 2006-2007 season, Becker has finished in the top-25 three times and has the teams third-best stroke average at 71.9. This is his third season as a regular in the starting lineup. His senior leadership and experience will help the Cougars this spring.
Sophomore Nick Killpack rounds out the remaining returning Cougars for the 2006-2007 season. Killpack has already shown improvement from his freshman year by recording his highest tournament finish this fall by tying for 29th place at the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate.
The BYU men's golf team also adds five new freshman to the roster this season. Robbie Fillmore, Brady Johnson, Tyson Mc Farland, Brad Nicholson and Adam Tebbs will be golfers to watch this upcoming spring season. Thus far, Fillmore has seen the most action among the group. At the Pacific Invitational, his first collegiate tournament, Fillmore finished in impressive fashion at eight-under-par and in fourth place.