Cougars Open Spring Season In Tucson

Tucson, Ariz. -- BYU's men's golf team began its spring season at the 2002 PING-Arizona Intercollegiate on Monday.

All-American Manuel Merizalde led the Cougars shooting even in the first round of the par 71 course. Merizalde, ranked No. 30 individually by the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings,is tied for 17th and four shots behind the leaders.

"Manuel is as tough as nails," BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank said. "This guy is a gamer, and when the gun fires, he's always ready to play."

Merizalde was three-under-par in the second round before play was suspended with two holes to play.

Second round play was suspended Monday at 6:15 p.m. MST due to darkness. About two-thirds of the field still has holes to play, and some groups will have to finish two holes before the third round can begin. Play will resume Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 7:30 a.m. MST with the completion of the second round. The final round will follow at approximately 8:30 a.m.

The Cougars had a slow first round, but the second round was a different story as the three of the Cougars are under par.

"I knew we'd be a little rusty coming in to this tournament," Brockbank said. "I'm really pleased with how the guys came out and played a strong second round."

Freshman Greg Matchaler, playing in his first tournament as a Cougar, shot a first round 75, but came back and shot a second-round 68 (he was one of two Cougars who was able to finish his second round).

Another highlight for the Cougars was freshman Ron Harvey Jr. who was four-under-par going into the final hole of the second round before shooting a triple bogie and finishing with a 70.

"Our freshmen are doing well for us," Brockbank said. "This is a nice tournament to help our young guys build some confidence.

Southern California, the defending tournament champion, leads the field by six strokes after the first round of play. The Trojans carded a 281 (-3) team

total in the opening round to lead the 20-team field by one stroke. New Mexico (282), Oklahoma State (283) and Pepperdine (284) round out the top four places.

Individually, three players are tied for the lead after Monday's 18 holes, as

UC-Irvine's Mike Lavery, Oklahoma State's Hunter Mahan and New Mexico's Jay Reynolds each fired a four-under par 67. All told, there were 16 players within three strokes of the lead after the first round.

The 54-hole tournament is being contested at The Raven at Sabino Springs,

a par 71, 6,776-yard facility and will finish play after the third round on Tuesday.

BYU Individual First Round Scores

t17 Manuel Merizalde BYU 34- 37 71 E

t62 Greg Machtaler BYU 36- 39 75 +4

t88 Kyle Wight BYU 37- 41 78 +7

t88 Ron Harvey, Jr. BYU 39- 39 78 +7

t103 Jared Overton BYU 42- 40 82 +11


Fin. School Scores

1 Southern California 281 -3

2 New Mexico, U. of 282 -2

3 Oklahoma State U. 283 -1

4 Pepperdine Univ. 286 +2

5 California, U. of 287 +3

Arizona, U. of 287 +3

7 UCLA 288 +4

Tulsa, U. of 288 +4

9 South Carolina 289 +5

10 Washington, U. of 290 +6

UC-Irvine 290 +6

Oregon, U. of 290 +6

Fresno State Univ. 290 +6

14 Arizona Red 294 +10

15 Oregon State U. 295 +11

16 Mississippi, U. of 298 +14

17 Arizona State U. 299 +15

18 Brigham Young Univ. 302 +18

19 Long Beach State 303 +19

20 Southern Methodist 304 +20