Cougars on top after 36 holes at Morris Williams

AUSTIN -- The No. 18 BYU men's golf team, riding a career-low 65 from freshman Jake Ellison in the first round, had a firm grip on first place after 36 holes Monday at the Morris Williams Intercollegiate.

Ellison (65-71--136), who has twice shot 68 this season and 67 once, sat in second place in the individual standings behind Arkansas' Andrew Dahl (64-68--132). Ellison's 65 was the lowest round for BYU (281-285--566) this season.

Head coach Bruce Brockbank said he was impressed with his team's play Monday.

"It was an exciting day and the guys played really well," Brockbank said. "We were on top of the leader board all day."

The Cougars had three players in the top 20: Ellison (2), sophomore Oscar Alvarez (6), and junior Greg Machtaler (16). Alvarez (68-73--141) came in just five strokes behind Ellison, his first-round 68 tying his career low. Machtaler (74-69--143) had his second-lowest round of the season when he shot 69 on the second 18. Rounding out the Cougar five were junior Todd Miller (74-73--147) and sophomore Clay Bingham (80-72--152), who recovered nicely from a poor first round 80 to shoot a 72.

Brockbank said he thinks his team should be able to hang on and win the tournament despite a tough field that includes three top-10 teams.

"We feel like we can play with them," he said. "We'll go out tomorrow and see if we can finish this one off. The guys are excited to get out there."

The Cougars are just one stroke ahead of No. 8 Texas Christian (284-283--567) with 18 more holes to play. The tournament's final round will begin Tuesday with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m.

The Morris Williams, hosted by No. 7 ranked University of Texas, is held at the Austin Country Club on a par-72 course that measures 6,906 yards. The tournament draws the following tough field: Texas (7), TCU (8), Oklahoma State (10), California (13), Arkansas (16), Oklahoma (23), Pepperdine (29), Texas A&M (31), Tulsa (34), SMU (40), Baylor, Fresno State, Houston and Virginia.

Last season, BYU placed 14th in the Morris Williams. Oklahoma State (286-285--571), the winner of the 2003 tournament, was in third place going into the final round.

BYU has finished in the top five in all seven of its tournaments so far this season.

Morris Williams Intercollegiate   Austin, Texas

March 15 Austin Country Club

Par: 72 Yardage: 6,906

Fin. Name Score

1 Brigham Young 281-285--566 (-10)

2 Jake Ellison 65-71--136 (-8)

T 6 Oscar Alvarez 68-73--141 (-3)

T 16 Greg Machtaler 74-69--143 (-1)

T 33 Todd Miller 74-73--147 (+3)

T 59 Clay Bingham 80-72--152 (+8)

Fin. Team Score

1 Brigham Young 281-285--566 (-10)

2 Texas Christian 284-283--567 (-9)

3 Oklahoma State 286-285--571 (-5)

4 Arkansas 288-284--572 (-4)

5 Tulsa 286-293--579 (+3)

6 Oklahoma 288-292--580 (+4)

7 California 286-295--581 (+5)

T 8 Virginia* 290-250--290 (+6)

T 8 Texas 287-295--582 (+6)

10 Baylor 298-288--586 (+10)

11 Pepperdine* 303-238--303 (+12)

12 SMU 296-293--589 (+13)

13 Texas A&M* 296-263--296 (+20)

14 Houston 292-307--599 (+23)

15 Fresno State 309-295--604 (+28)

*Teams still have 16, 17, and 18 left to play

Fin. Top 20 Players School Score

1 Andrew Dahl Arkansas 64-68--132 (-12)

2 Jake Ellison Brigham Young 65-71--136 (-8)

3 Anthony Kim Oklahoma 70-67--137 (-7)

T 4 Will Dodson SMU 72-68--140 (-4)

T 4 Michael Putnam* Pepperdine 73-----73 (-4)

T 6 Oscar Alvarez Brigham Young 68-73--141 (-3)

T 6 Ryan Baca Baylor 74-67--141 (-3)

T 6 Colby Beckstrom Texas Christian 69-72--141 (-3)

T 6 Jason Hartwick Texas 70-71--141 (-3)

T 6 David Inglis Tulsa 71-70--141 (-3)

T 6 Zach Mowbray Houston 69-72--141 (-3)

T 6 Brad Tilley* Virginia 71-----71 (-3)

T 13 Mitch Cohlmia Tulsa 71-71--142 (-2)

T 13 Adam Meyer Texas Christian 71-71--142 (-2)

T 13 Casey Wittenberg Oklahoma State 71-71--142 (-2)

T 16 Jeremy Alcorn Baylor 72-71--143 (-1)

T 16 Jeff Bell Texas 72-71--143 (-1)

T 16 J.J. Killeen Texas Christian 72-71--143 (-1)

T 16 Tyler Leon Oklahoma State 72-71--143 (-1)

T 16 Greg Machtaler Brigham Young 74-69--143 (-1)

T 16 Stephen Polanski Texas Christian 74-69--143 (-1)

T 16 Zack Robinson Oklahoma State 71-72--143 (-1)

*Individuals still have 16, 17, and 18 left to play