Cougars return to National Championship

Oscar Alvarez returns to his third consecutive NCAA Championship.

SUNRIVER, Ore. (Monday, May 29, 2006) -- It's national championship time for the No. 8 ranked BYU men's golf team as they travel to Sunriver, Ore., with 29 other teams to decide the national champion.

Entering their third straight NCAA finals, the Cougars received the 10th seed in the tournament and will be paired with UCLA and Clemson for the first round. BYU tees off starting at 2:47 MST on Wednesday, May 31.

Tee-times were decided based on weather conditions. Typically the Crosswater Golf Club course has some frost on the ground in the morning, which is why the higher seeds are teeing off in the afternoon.

"The course can be tricky especially if it's windy," head coach Bruce Brockbank said. "I think that the greens will be firm and pretty fast...putting will be a big key for us."

The Cougars are fresh off a sixth place finish at the NCAA West Regional. BYU had an excellent final round shooting 11-under-par as a team and coming from behind to advance to the championship tournament.

Brockbank, however, says he knows that the Cougars can play better.

"We had a great final round as a team in Tucson," he said. "It just shows the character of this team...they have no quit in them at all. We need to put together four great rounds to be in contention at this tournament."

The tournament features a number of the top-ranked programs in the country including the top three teams, Georgia, Florida, and Oklahoma State. The tournament features 22 of the top 25 teams in the country.

BYU has had plenty of experience at the Sunriver course participating in tournaments there over the last four years. Recently the Cougars participated in the MWC Championships at Crosswater Golf Club; where they finished fourth.

"We are very familiar with this course...and I like our chances," Brockbank said.

BYU is lead by 2006 MWC Player of the Year Jake Ellison who experienced the birth of his first child on Saturday, just hours before heading with his teammates to Oregon. Joining Ellison is lone senior All-American Oscar Alvarez who will be playing in his final tournament in Cougar uniform. Both Alvarez and Ellison played in BYU's last two top-10 NCAA Championship finishes. Last season Ellison, Alvarez and junior Nick Becker helped lead BYU to a fourth-place finish in the national championship. Becker returns again after finishing tied for 38th at the NCAA West Regional. Clay Ogden and sophomore Daniel Summerhays will be playing in their first NCAA finals. Both Ogden and Summerhays have had strong performances for the Cougars in the month of May. Ogden finished 11th at the NCAA West Regional thanks to a final round 67, which was a major reason BYU qualified for the finals. Meanwhile, Summerhays finished in fourth place at the MWC championships and was the top Cougar in that event.

Tournament play begins Wednesday, May 31 and runs through Saturday;

June 3rd. Live tournament coverage is available on golfstat.com.

BYU STATISTICS

OSCAR ALVAREZ

Season Events Rnds. Strokes Avg. Lw Rd. Top 20

05-06 14 42 3,020 71.9 65 6

NICK BECKER

Season Events Rnds. Stokes Avg. Lw Rd. Top 20

05-06 13 39 2,838 72.8 68 4

JAKE ELLISON

Season Events Rnds. Stokes Avg. Lw Rd. Top 20

05-06 13 39 2,786 71.4 64 7

CLAY OGDEN

Season Events Rnds. Strokes Avg. Lw Rd. Top 20

05-06 12 36 2,595 72.08 65 7

DANIEL SUMMERHAYS

Season Events Rnds. Strokes Avg. Lw Rd. Top 20

05-06 12 36 2,595 72.08 64 6