Cougars Surge to Second-Place Finish

Clay Ogden earned his highest career finish after consecutive rounds of 71 at The Prestige. Ogden's sixth-place finish paced the Cougars to a final-round 284 and runner-up honors. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

LA QUINTA -- The No. 14 BYU men's golf team warmed up with the weather Tuesday at the final round of The Prestige, climbing to a second-place finish after a quartet of 71's captured the best team total of the day.

The Cougars finished the second and third rounds Tuesday after Monday play was suspended because of darkness after rain and lightning delays in stormy and chilly La Quinta, Calif. Overnight showers left the par-72 Greg Norman Course at PGA West substantially soggy, but the conditions did not stop BYU's top four from firing identical scores (1-under 71) en route to the second-lowest round (4-under 284) of the competition.

Junior Clay Ogden maintained his solid play by finishing at 1-under in each of the final two rounds, boosting him to the highest individual placement of his collegiate career. Ogden, who won the 2005 U.S. Public Links in July, landed in sixth place with an overall total of 1-under 215, marking his first team-leading performance of the season.

"I played really solid for all three rounds this week," Ogden said. "I stayed out of trouble and I gave myself opportunities to score today."

Joining Ogden at No. 6 was Junior Jake Ellison, whose consistent play has earned him three top-10 finishes this season. Ellison, who has been the Cougars' low scorer in three of four competitions this fall, followed up his second-round 70 with a 71 to match his teammate at 1-under 215.

"I'm excited for both Clay and Jake today, and I thought everybody played well today," BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank said. "I'd like to find an energizer pill to get us going before the first rounds because we need to shoot better early on, but I thought we had a lot of consistency at the end."

UCLA won The Prestige for the third year in a row, separating from the pack early with a 10-stroke lead after Round 1 and not looking back. The No. 10 Bruins finished 10 strokes ahead of BYU and created a tournament within a tournament for the rest of the field, which featured five other Golfweek Top 25 teams.

Also contributing to the first time the Cougars had four golfers shoot under par in one round this season were junior Nick Becker and senior leader Oscar Alvarez. Becker had his best showing this fall with a 13th-place finish after lowering his score in every round (74-73-71) for a 2-over 218. Alvarez bounced back from a shaky second round to slide below par in the final round. He tied for 40th place with a 9-over 225, marking the first time he was kept out of the top 30 this season.

"To finish second with our No. 1 guy struggling tells a lot about the depth of the team," Brockbank said. "I thought we played decently and showed that we're capable of playing as well as the best teams."

Freshman Nick Killpack saw his first collegiate tournament action at the rainy Prestige, and even though he said he didn't play as well as he wanted, he enjoyed the chance to get his feet wet.

"It was a good experience," said Killpack, who shot a 14-over 230. "I was a bit disappointed in how I played, but I learned that I just need to be patient and hit one shot at a time."

After notching its second runner-up finish this season, BYU has five days to prepare for the Aztec Invitational in San Diego on Oct. 24-25.

Fin. School            Scores

1 UCLA 280-291-289--860 (-4)

2 BYU 295-291-284--870 (+6)

3 UC Irvine 291-292-289--872 (+8)

4 Illinois 293-291-291--875 (+11)

T5 Pepperdine 297-293-290--880 (+16)

T5 Notre Dame 296-298-286--880 (+16)

T7 Texas 297-290-299--886 (+22)

T7 Stanford 291-296-299--886 (+22)

9 Northern Colorado 296-299-295--890 (+26)

10 Colorado 290-308-294--892 (+28)

T11 Ohio State 302-298-297--897 (+33)

T11 Oregon 298-306-293--897 (+33)

13 UC Davis 306-291-301--898 (+34)

14 California 297-306-302--905 (+41)

15 UC Santa Barbara 313-296-298--907 (+43)

16 Pacific 303-307-300--910 (+46)

17 Kansas 309-304-307--920 (+56)

18 Yale 295-319-317--931 (+67)

BYU Individual Results

Fin. Golfer Score

T6 Clay Ogden 73-71-71--215 (-1)

T6 Jake Ellison 74-70-71--215 (-1)

T13 Nick Becker 74-73-71--218 (+2)

T40 Oscar Alvarez 74-80-71--225 (+9)

T64 Nick Killpack 77-77-76--230 (+14)

90 participants

Tags: Results