In its final season of Mountain West Conference competition, the BYU men’s golf team looks to follow up on a successful 2010 campaign with a mix of young talent and experienced leadership.
Entering his 18th season as head coach, BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank said he is excited for another season of competition against some of the most prestigious golf programs in the country.
“We’ve got some great teams in the conference and I think we are capable of having a lot of success this spring,” Brockbank said. “Over the next four or five months we are going to work to overcome the stress and pressure that it requires to win.”
Brockbank, who has recently named the 28th President of the Golf Coaches Association of America, looks to build upon an impressive coaching career that has included conference championships in 1995, 1997, 2001 and 2007.
The Cougars have big shoes to fill in 2011 with the loss of seniors Robbie Fillmore and Brady Johnson, who led BYU to top-ten finishes in six of eight tournaments last year, including a championship at the Fresno Lexus Classic. Fillmore was named All-America honorable mention after competing in the 2010 NCAA Championships where he tied for 18th place. Both Fillmore and Johnson were MWC Scholar Athletes.
“Robbie and Brady were great examples, hard workers and very good leaders for the team,” Brockbank said. “We’re in need of a leader and I have no doubt that some of our older golfers can step up and take the lead.”
The fall season showed flashes of brilliance as the Cougars posted three-consecutive top-10 finishes to round out the schedule. BYU’s best performance came at the William Tucker Intercollegiate in Albuquerque, N.M., where the Cougars shot 21-over as a team to capture fifth place in the 15-team field.
Among the key returning golfers looking to take charge for the Cougars is sophomore Zac Blair. As a true freshman during the 2009-10 season, Blair boasted a 73.2 stroke average, good for third-best among Cougar golfers. He also tied for 45th at the NCAA Southeast Regional and was named to the 2010 Academic All-MWC team.
Blair led the Cougars during a strong fall season, recording three top-10 finishes and tying a career low by shooting a 68 in the final round of the Husky Invitational.
“Zac is a very talented golfer,” Brockbank said. “He has a goal to improve every year and, if he does, this program will be in very good shape.”
The Cougars also expect big contributions from newcomer Cameron Edens. A native of Phoenix, Ariz., Edens transferred to BYU after three years of golfing at Arizona State and made an immediate impact in the fall. In his third tournament as a Cougar, he shot 1-over par and finished tied for seventh at the William H. Tucker Invitational. Edens followed that with a 21st-place finish at the Pacific Invitational in Stockton, Calif.
Esteban Calisto is the other Cougar senior on the 2011 squad. A fourth-year golfer for BYU, Calisto has amassed nine-career top-10 finishes, including tying for 14th at the MWC Championships as a freshman in 2008. He competed in three of the Cougars’ four tournaments in the fall, tying for 20th at the Mark Simpson Invitational.
Junior Daniel Reid returns as one of the Cougars’ three upperclassmen. Reid is coming off a fall season in which he competed in three of BYU’s four tournaments, with his best finish coming at the Pacific Invitational where he carded a final-round 72 to finish tied for 39th place.
Sophomore returnees Alton Anderson, Jr. and Adam Tebbs showed promise during a fall in which they were mainstays in the Cougar lineup. Tebbs, who returned from a two-year mission to Florida in the summer of 2010, recorded his best finish at the William Tucker Invitational where he shot rounds of 73-75-75 to tie for 21st place. Anderson shot a fall-best 71 in the third round of the Pacific Invitational to solidify a tie for 42nd place.
The Cougars welcome three newcomers to the 2011 squad. Justin Keiley A native of Haiku, Hawaii, Keiley brings an impressive high school resume that includes being named the 2009 Hawaii State Junior Golfer of the Year, tying for 25th at the 2009 Junior World Championships and shooting a career-low 64 at the Wailea Blue Golf Course in Hawaii.
“After winning four or five tournaments in the summer, Justin is working really hard both on the course and in the classroom,” Brockbank said. “He’s definitely getting better.”
Colton Ogden, brother of former BYU standout golfer Clay, was a four-time all-state honoree during his time at Clearfied and Syracuse High Schools. He helped his team win the regional tournament as a sophomore and junior while taking second at the state tournament both years. In addition to his prolific high school career, Ogden has also competed in several amateur tournaments, including the Eddie Hogan Cup, the PGA Westfield Junior and Junior Worlds in 2009. In 2008, he won the Desert Junior Tournament in Phoenix.
“Colton is a hard worker, is extremely dedicated and likes to compete and play,” Brockbank said. “He will really develop and turn into an impact player for our program. He has the qualities to be a great leader for our team. He comes from a great family who is very supportive.”
Dalyn Bellingham ...
The mix of youth and experience brings exciting possibilities as the Cougars look to make a statement during their final campaign as MWC competitors.
“We need to get to the point where our golfers are dealing with adversity and doing more than I require as a coach,” Brockbank said. “To win a conference tournament is a big deal and I think we are definitely capable of that.”