PROVO -- BYU Men's Golf Team players have warmed up their swings in the fall pre-season and are ready to go low in the upcoming spring season. With a slight face-lift, BYU has a fresh look with a new and improved line-up. Two new players were added to the roster in January--Todd Miller returning from a church mission and Oscar Alvarez signing on from Medellin, Colombia.
Miller has been a great asset to the team in the past. In his sophomore year, he held a scoring average of 72.3 and shot a career and team low of 64 in the Red River Classic playing against the toughest field of the season.
"Todd is one of the finest kids we've ever had on the golf team; we're thrilled to have him back," says head golf coach Bruce Brockbank.
Alvarez, the newest member of the team arrived late January with an impressive resume of golf success. His best round of competitive golf is a 61, which is also the record for the lowest round ever in Colombia. He also holds the Michigan's Kalamazoo Country Club course record of 62. Alvarez was Colombia's 2000 Player of the Year and just recently made a hole-in-one on a par 4 at Club El Rodeo.
"Oscar is very talented and will definitely improve our chances of great success this season," says head coach Bruce Brockbank. "He has fallen right in sync with the team in such a short amount of time; it is almost like he has been here all year long."
Alvarez's tournament results are just as remarkable. He shot eighteen-under-par to win the Macerena Open in Medellin, Colombia, and also five-under-par to finish seventh in the Professional Rodeo Open. Alvarez has been a world traveler in his pre-BYU golf days. He played in the World Amateur in Germany and participated on the World Team Championship in Japan.
These are just a few of his spectacular accomplishments.
With two solid performances in the fall, sophomore Greg Machtaler and freshman Daniel Summerhays are ready to take the reigns this season and bring home victory. Both closed out the pre-season with top-25 individual finishes in all five events and both held the lowest tournament scoring averages--Machtaler with 71.7 and Summerhays with 71.8.
Within Machtaler's five top-25 finishes were two outstanding top-10 finishes. In the first tournament of the fall season, New Mexico's William H. Tucker Invitational, Machtaler shot one-under-par to tie for a sixth place finish. And in the Fresno Lexus Classic, Machtaler had his all time best finish of second place shooting nine-under-par (70-69-68--207).
"Greg is a great up-and-coming player," Brockbank says. "He is just starting to touch his potential."
Brockbank expects great things from the Canadians on the team this spring. Machtaler's fellow Canadian teammate Ron Harvey, Jr. played in all five events in fall, grasping his first career top-10 finish in the Barona Collegiate Club after shooting six-under-par (67-70-73--210) to finish seventh.
"Two of our Canadians, Greg and Ron, had a hand in the team's success last year and last semester and are great students and great athletes; they feed off of each other and work off of each other," Brockbank says. "I am looking for them to step it up and lead the group. You can expect them to play as well as they did their freshman year."
As for Summerhays, it is tough to get any better results than he already has in his first semester at BYU. Besides the spectacular golf performance, Summerhays has showed perfection in the classroom. Summerhays came to BYU with 38 straight-A credits of college material already completed from advanced high school courses. One 4.0 semester of college later, Summerhays holds 52 credits of all A's.
"Daniel is the best athlete we have ever had here at BYU in the golf program just because he is so committed to both sides of the spectrum," Brockbank says. "It's a coach's dream to have a kid so determined at everything he does."
Summerhays is just as determined with his golf game as he is with his grades. With two five-under-par 67s, five top-25 finishes with one being a third place finish, and a career low of 62, Summerhays wants to go even lower this semester.
"Daniel is so competitive, so determined, so committed, so positive and very unique," says head coach Bruce Brockbank. "He makes everyone around him better."
Now this is by no means "beginner's luck." Summerhays won three high school state team championships and one individual state championship before showing up to BYU. And that's not even to mention the fact that he's a two-time winner of the Utah State Amateur in 2000 and 2001 and was named the 2001 Utah Player of the Year. And just to name a few more accomplishments, he finished third in the 2001 Western Junior, made it to the quarterfinals of the 2001 U.S. Amateur, and shot 67 to win the 2002 U.S. Open local qualifier
In June, Summerhays plans to leave on a church mission. Ultimately, he plans to play on the PGA Tour.
The solo senior on the team, Jared Overton, is also ready to tackle the spring season. Overton played all five fall events with at 75.9 tournament scoring average and brings a great deal of experience to the team.
"Jared's game has really matured and is ready to help the team more this season," Brockbank says.
Brockbank's hopes for the team as a whole this season are to take the experience, practice and preparation obtained in the fall season and use it to win some championships.
"In our last two tournaments of the fall season we had a chance to win both," Brockbank says. "The depth of our team hurt us. So now, after getting caught up in classes, a slight change in the line-up, lots of practice, and a great deal of preparation, we are ready to starting winning."