The Cougars look to build on last year's third-place MWC finish. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The 2008-09 BYU Men’s Golf squad is poised for a big year after a 2007-08 campaign which the young golfers made huge strides in polishing their golf game.
With no seniors, only one junior, and three sophomores leading the way last season, the Cougars competed well throughout the year and finished third in the Mountain West Conference final standings.
“We showed signs of great things to come,” said BYU men’s golf coach Bruce Brockbank. “Though there were moments of mediocrity, I thought they had fun, were challenged, and saw great strides of improvement.”
One item the Cougars will look to improve on this season is stronger finishes to their tournaments. The team often showed signs of brilliance in one round of a tournament but not be able to sustain the momentum through the final round. To counter this trend, Coach Brockbank hopes the team has learned through experience and their summer work ethic to finish the tournaments strong.
“I think the team has learned from experience and putting themselves in different scenarios how to hit their next shot,” he said. “After the ups and downs of last season, I think the team left for the summer wanting to work hard, participate in tournaments and improve their game. Many of them played well in their tournaments and had a great summer. With this momentum, I hope they’ll come in with confidence and have learned to do things a little bit differently.”
This season the Cougars will be led by senior Nick Killpack, juniors Robbie Fillmore and Brady Johnson and sophomore Esteban Calisto.
Killpack participated in all 12 events the Cougars were in and had an average stoke of 74.82, including a top-20 finish at the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate tournament.
Fillmore led the team with a 72.57 stroke average and placed in the top-20 at seven different tournaments, including a second-place mark at the MWC Championships and fourth-place finish at the Morris Williams tournament.
Johnson looks to come back strong after having performed well in several tournaments throughout the year and shot a season-low 69 in the second round of the MWC Championships, helping the Cougars solidify its third-place overall standing. His 74.60 average stroke was the third best on the team.
Calisto returns from a successful freshman year in which he participated in every tournament and had the team’s second-best stroke average of 73.51. He placed in the top-20 in three separate events which included a 10th-place finish at the U.S. Intercollegiate tournament.
Freshmen Adam Tebbs and Spencer Montgomery departed for two years to serve their LDS missions and junior Brad Nicholson and freshman Tyson McFarland decided not to return to the team.
The team will look to incoming transfer Sterling Clark for his playing experience at the University of Washington. Freshmen Mike Jurca, Jordan Hammer and Stephen Archibald come to Provo after stellar careers at Dixie High School in St. George, Utah. Jordan Rodgers from Skyline High School and returned missionary Daniel Reid will also contribute to the team.
Though a second consecutive year with much youth on the team, Coach Brockbank is excited for this season.
“I like the new guys a lot,” he said. “I think they’ll come in and help us out. They knew how to win at the junior level, now I think they’ll find a way to get it done here at BYU.”
He hopes the upperclassmen will provide an example for the younger players.
“I think they’ve learned to play smarter and avoid mistakes,” he said. “Through their hard work this summer and experience from their years here, I hope they’ll step out and take on a leadership role to help the freshmen and younger guys along. With their dedication and commitment to the program they’ll be able to pull the young kids through.”
Through consistent performances in the tournaments and relying on past experiences, the team hopes to make it to the postseason and play in the NCAA Regionals and beyond.
“We will have great learning opportunities and do well in our tournaments,” Brockbank said. “We’d like to make it to the postseason and like all programs work toward a national championship. If our freshmen step up and the older guys provide solid leadership, l think we can have a great year.”