Cougars Make Final Cut at NCAAs

Greg Machtaler's performance has been a big reason the Cougars made the final cut at the NCAA tournament.

OWINGS MILLS -- BYU's men's golf team made the final cut and moved into 10th place after Friday's third round of the 2005 NCAA Golf Championship at Cave's Valley Golf Club in Baltimore.

Thanks to pelting rains and strong winds, BYU shot it's highest round of the tournament--a 24-over-par 304. Fortunately for the Cougars they are just four strokes out of third place as most of the other 29 teams in the field faced the same conditions.

"It was raining sideways all day long until we finished our round," BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank said. "I was very impressed with our guys and how they handled these miserable conditions. We came out intense and ready to play but finished nine-over-par over our last five holes."

Unlike earlier rounds, the Cougars didn't end on a strong note. BYU's top golfer Oscar Alvarez had a particularly tough finish as he went four-over-par on his last five holes. He had been playing solid all day long but his miscues at the end moved him into a tie for eighth place individually.

"I fought hard all day and finished with four bad holes," Alvarez said. "I'm a little frustrated. If I could of done well on those last couple holes, I may have had a good chance of winning this tournament."

Alvarez is six strokes behind tournament leader Michael Putnam of Pepperdine University, who is three-under-par for the tournament.

In the last tournament of his BYU career, Greg Machtaler continues to play well. He is tied for 36th place after a four-over-par 74 in the third round. Fellow senior Ron Harvey, Jr. also played well for the Cougar's going seven-over-par on a challenging day. He is tied for 49th place heading into Saturday's final round. Sophomore Jake Ellison went eight-over-par and is tied for 98th place, while MWC Champion Nick Becker continues to struggle in his first national championship appearance.

Georgia continues to lead the tournament at 15-over-par, 24 strokes ahead of the Cougars. BYU trails third place USC by only four strokes and fourth place UNLV by three strokes. Fifteen teams did not make the final cut including: No. 6 Florida, No. 14 Wake Forest, No 16 UCLA, No. 29 Texas, No. 23 Arizona. With only 15 teams making the final cut, BYU has a chance to improve upon last year's ninth-place finish.

BYU's season comes down to Saturday's final round. The Cougars have an excellent opportunity to finish in the top five for the first time since 1991. BYU has finished in the top five on 12 different occasions.

"We could easily be in third place right now," Brockbank said. "I'm hoping tomorrow will be our day. We need to find a way to step up and shoot a great score tomorrow. I think it's our turn to do that."

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