Alvarez leads Cougars at NCAA West Regional

SUNRIVER -- Oscar Alvarez's three-under first round elevated the Cougars to a tie for third to open the NCAA West Regional at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Oregon on Thursday.

"Our guys just battled out there today," BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank said. "I'm really proud of the way these guys fought through the wind and intense pressure to put together a quality round."

BYU, the fifth seed in the West Region, finished the first round tied for third at two-under par, just three strokes behind leader and No. 1 seed UCLA. 2004 MWC Champion New Mexico is in second place and two shots ahead of the Cougars at four-under-par. The top 10 teams advance to the NCAA Men's Championship on June 1-4 at the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Va. BYU last advanced to the Championships in 2000 and finished seventh in 1999.

Alvarez, who has had an outstanding spring season, birdied two out of his last four holes to finish the day in a tie for third place individually at three under. The junior from Colombia has finished among the top 10 individuals in four out of the last six tournaments and among the top 20 individuals in six consecutive tournaments for BYU.

"He played solid all day, and he stepped up when we really needed him," Brockbank said.

Other Cougars also came through under pressure including Juniors Ron Harvey Jr., and Todd Miller. Both Harvey and Miller made big putts to help them to finish among the top 25 individuals in this 27-team tournament. Harvy finished the day one-under and in a tie for 17th place while Miller finished even and in a tie for 25th. First-team All-Mountain West Conference Jake Ellison and Greg Machtaler fought through challenging days to finish two-over and five-over-par respectively.

Coming off a second-place finish at the 2004 MWC Championship, these Cougars know how important Friday's second round will be to their hopes of advancing to the NCAA Championship for the first time in four years.

"Tomorrow's moving day and we'll need to step up and shoot a good score," Brockbank said. "If we do that we'll be in great shape on Saturday."

Fans can follow the Cougars in the second and third rounds live on the internet at www.golfstat.com as the Cougars tee of at 8:30 a.m. MST,

TEAM LEADERBOARD

1. UCLA 283 -5

2. New Mexico 284 -4

T3. Brigham Young 286 -2

T3. Arizona State 286 -2

T3. USC 286 -2

T3. Toledo 286 -2

7. San Diego St. 286 -2

8. Arizona 288 E

9. Pepperdine 292 +4

T10. Washington 293 +5

T10. UC Riverside 293 +5

12. NC Wilmington 294 +6

13. Central Florida 296 +8

T14. New Mexico St. 297 +9

T14. Colorado St. 297 +9

16. Stanford 298 +10

T17. Furman 299 +11

T17. Long Beach St. 299 +11

T19. Denver 300 +12

T19. UNLV 300 +12

T21. Coast. Carolina 301 +13

T21. California 301 +13

23. UC-Irvine 303 +15

24. Wright State 305 +17

25. UTEP 307 +19

26. La-Monroe 308 +20

27. Loyola College 316 +28

BYU's Individual Scores

T3 Oscar Alvarez 69 -3

T17 Ron Harvey Jr. 71 -1

T25 Todd Miller 72 E

T50 Jake Ellison 74 +2

T96 Greg Machtaler 77 +5