Cougars in 17th place at NCAA West Regional

ALBUQUERQUE -- BYU faded on its last three holes to end the first round of the 2002 NCAA West Regional in 17th place out of 27 teams on Thursday.

On the challenging University of New Mexico Championship Course, BYU played solid until the final stretch where they fell from the front of the pack towards the back of the pack.

"We folded like a cheap tent those last three holes," BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank said. "It's a little frustrating because we were only two-over-par after 15 holes and then we finish the day at 13 over. We lost 11 strokes those last three holes."

True freshman Ron Harvey Jr. led the Cougars in the first round as he finished even par and sits in 18th place individually. Manuel Merizalde also played well shooting 2-over 74. Both Harvey and Merizalde had opportunities to finish under par, but missed putts down the stretch. Greg Machtaler carded a five-over 77 while Kyle Wight and Devin Heid both shot six-over 78.

BYU is looking to be one of the top 10 finishers who automatically advance to the NCAA Championships. With two rounds left to play the Cougars are currently seven strokes behind 10th place USC. Although BYU didn't earn a berth to the Championships last season, the Cougars finished 2nd at the West Regional in 2000 and 7th at the NCAA Championships in 1999.

"We really have made it more difficult than it needed to be, but there is no doubt that we can still finish in the top 10," Brockbank said. "There is a lot of golf left to play and we intend to step it up and correct the mistakes we made at the end of the day."

Texas leads second place San Diego State by four strokes and third place UNLV by five strokes. Host New Mexico finished the first round in ninth place just eight strokes ahead of BYU.

Second round action will continue on Friday at the New Mexico Championship Course in Albuquerque.

FIRST ROUND TEAM SCORING

1. Texas -3 285

2. San Diego State +1 289

T3. Fresno State +2 290

T3. Minnesota +2 290

T3. UNLV +2 290

6. Washington +3 291

T7. Arizona +4 292

T7. Pepperdine +4 292

9. New Mexico +5 293

T10. Pacific +6 294

T10. USC +6 294

12. Ohio State +7 295

13. UCLA +8 296

14. Texas Tech +10 298

15. Nevada +11 299

16. Oregon +12 300

T17. BYU +13 301

T17. Illinois State +13 301

T19. Detroit Mercy +14 302

T19. Washington State +14 302

21. Stanford +15 303

22. Arizona State +16 304

23. UC-Irvine +19 307

24. California +20 308

25. Central Conn. St +25 313

26. Colorado State +26 314

27. IUPUI +27 315

BYU INDIVIDUAL SCORES

T18. Ron Harvey Jr. E 72

T36. Manuel Merizalde +2 74

T90. Greg Machtaler +5 77

T105. Devin Heid +6 78

T105. Kyle Wight +6 78