Cougars win MWC Golf Championships

Sunriver, Ore.-- Behind the play of its three seniors, Scott Miller, Jesse Hibler and Billy Harvey, BYU claimed its first Mountain West Conference Championship in dramatic fashion on Wednesday.

The MWC championship came down to the wire with the conferences' top three teams, BYU, New Mexico and San Diego State, separated by only one stroke after two rounds. With only a hole to play BYU was even with San Diego State for the lead when All-American Harvey came up with a huge birdie to seal the victory for the Cougars. Harvey's heroics came after hitting his approach with an 8-iron 12 feet from the cup where he nailed the clutch putt.

The Cougars avenged last week's disappointing loss to San Diego State in the BYU Cougar Classic where the Aztecs outplayed BYU by 21 strokes. This week was a different story as all five Cougar golfers played mentally tough and pull out the victory amidst swirling winds and cold conditions.

"It was a dogfight out there today," BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank said. "Under the circumstances, this was as fine a championship victory as we've had here at BYU."

Brockbank gave the MVP trophy to Jesse Hibler and Scott Miller who finished the tournament in second and third place respectively. Hibler finished one shot behind winner John Lepak of San Diego State, while Miller shot one of the few subpar rounds of the tournament during the critical final round. Miller finishing an amazing final round 71 what Brockbank called an amazing final round

Manuel Merizalde, who has been struggling the last few tournaments, shot a final round 74 to finish strong and help the Cougars to victory. Kyle Wight, who is the surprise of the spring season, kept BYU in the hunt throughout the tournament finishing 75-76-77--228. After struggling early in the final round,Wight came back and shot two-under-par on the back nine.

"We played incredible golf today," Brockbank said. "Under the weather conditions we had this week a 291 is like shooting 20-under-par. These guys really hung in there."

Billy Harvey was named to the Mountain West Conference First Team. The Cougars collected their second conference trophy in three years as Manuel Merizalde led BYU to a WAC Championship in 1999. This was BYU's 14 conference championship in men's golf. With the victory BYU receives an automatic bid to the 2001 NCAA Western Regional May 17-19 at Trysting Tree Golf Course in Corvallis, Oregon.

Team Standings         Scores

1. BYU 305-294-291=890 (+26)

2. San Diego State 307-293-292=892 (+28)

3. Colorado State 301-303-292=896 (+32)

4. New Mexico 314-285-300=899 (+35)

5. UNLV 316-307-290=913 (+49)

6. Utah 313-299-304=916 (+52)

7. Wyoming 317-306-302=925 (+61)

8. Air Force 332-309-306=947 (+83)

Top Individual Scores

1. John Lepak, San Diego State 75-72-72=219 (+3)

2. Jesse Hibler, BYU 77-70-73=220 (+4)

3. Scott Miller, BYU 78-73-71=222 (+6)

Dallas Massey, Colorado State 76-75-71=222 (+6)

5. Billy Harvey, BYU 75-75-73=223 (+7)

Joel Hendry, New Mexico 80-72-71=223 (+7)

Lars Johansson, San Diego State 75-76-72=223 (+7)

Robby Stephenson, Colorado State 74-76-73=223 (+7)

BYU Individual Scores

2. Jesse Hibler, BYU 77-70-73=220 (+4)

3. Scott Miller, BYU 78-73-71=222 (+6)

5. Billy Harvey, BYU 75-75-73=223 (+7)

13.Kyle Wight, BYU 75-76-77=228 (+12)

20.Manuel Merizalde, BYU