PROVO, Utah -- Brigham Young University men's golf team hosts the 40th annual PING Cougar Classic on Friday-Saturday April 19-20 at Riverside Country Club in Provo, Utah.
The young BYU squad is quickly building momentum after two strong finishes at the Morris Williams Invitational in Austin, Texas and the ASU Thunderbird Invitational in Tempe, Ariz.
The Cougar veteran's and youth have jelled as the season has progressed, and BYU is playing some of its best golf of the season. Most recently at the Thunderbird Classic, sophomore Devin Heid playing in his second tournament of the year, showed no signs of rust, as he carded a scintillating career best eight-under 208. Freshman Greg Machtaler also continues his consistent play with a 14th place finish in Arizona, after placing 21st in Texas. Fellow freshman, Ron Harvey Jr., has recorded three top 25 finishes in the spring, including a career-high 12th place finish at the John A. Burns Intercollegiate.
Seniors Kyle Wight and Manuel Merizalde have played in every tournament in the spring, and each looks primed to do well. Wight tied a career-high ninth place finish at the Morris Williams Invitational, and Merizalde, after struggling to find his game for much of the season rebounded and played his best golf at the Thunderbird Invitational with a two-under 214.
This year 15 teams will challenge for the Cougar Classic crown. BYU, currently No. 54 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings, welcomes a competitive field featuring No. 10 Fresno State, No. 43 Nevada and MWC opponents Utah, Wyoming and Colorado State. Additionally, local teams Utah State, Weber State and Southern Utah will join the field.
Last year, in cold and wet conditions, BYU struggled out of the gate, carding a 13-over 301 in the first round of the Cougar Classic. The Cougars displayed their resiliency, however, by storming back to shoot identical rounds of four-under 284 in the second and third rounds to finish in fourth. The Cougars were led by Billy Harvey, who shot four-under 212 to finish third, three shots behind champion Lars Johansson of San Diego State. Although BYU lost the tournament crown to San Diego State, the Cougars proceeded to take the MWC crown 11 days later.
In 2000, BYU made history by shooting made history as the Cougars shot a record 43-under par (273-273-275--821) to claim the Championship. BYU was 22 strokes under the previous record of 843 set in 1973 and defeated second-place New Mexico by 24 strokes. From 1979 to 1992 five scores were counted instead of the current format of counting four scores. Individually Andy Miller shot a final round 63 to outplay teammate Manuel Merizalde to shoot a tournament record 69-69-63--201 finishing a stroke in front of Merizalde 66-66-70--202.
2002 COUGAR CLASSIC QUICK FACTS
Date: April 20-21 (Friday & Saturday)
Rounds: Three-rounds (54 holes); 36 holes on Friday (tee times beginning at 8 a.m.), 18 holes on Saturday 1st and 10th tees
FRIDAY Tee Times: Friday Tee Times: First round starts at 8:00-10:00 a.m. on 1st and 10th tees; second round tee times start at 12:00-2:00 p.m.
SATURDAY Tee Times: Third round starts at 8:00-10:00 a.m. on 1st and 10th tees. In case of bad weather, the tournament will change to a shotgun start at approximately 8 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. (all times Mountain Standard Time)
Course: Riverside Country Club
2001 Champion: San Diego State (282-284-282--848)
Defending Individual Champion: Lars Johansson, San Diego State (72-69-68--209)
TOURNAMENT Field (15 Teams): Air Force, BYU, Boise State, Colorado State, University of Denver, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, UC Santa Barbara, Southern Utah, Utah, Utah State, UTEP, Weber State, Wyoming
TOURNAMENT FORMAT: Best four of five scores counted on a daily basis. In case of a first-place tie, the three round total of the fifth score will be used to break the tie. A tie for the individual championship will be broken by a sudden death playoff beginning on hole no. 1.