Corvallis Oregon-Nearly capturing his first tournament win, senior Billy Harvey led BYU's men's golf team to a second place finish at the Nike Northwest Classic at the Trysting Tree Golf Course.
After shooting 65 and 70 in his first two rounds, Harvey was tied for the lead with two holes to play. A bogie on 17 and a rim-out putt on 18 cost Harvey a chance at the taking medalist honors.
BYU finished three shots behind Nevada, who made several key birdies on the final nine holes to clinch the win. The Cougars had claimed titles at the Nike Northwest Classic three out of the last five years, but made too many bogies down the stretch.
"Billy played fabulous for us," said Bruce Brockbank, BYU Head Coach. "We are going to have to come up big with some individual wins in order for us to compete like we did last year. We've got to be stronger mentally."
Sophomore Jared Overton showed his mental toughness shooting a first round 68 followed by a second round 70 in the first collegiate tournament of his career.
Overton's solid play is an example of what the Cougars need this year after losing three of their top six players this season.
Four time All-American Andy Miller, Honorable Mention All-American Jose Garrido, and sophomore Todd Miller will not be returning this season. Andy Miller and Garrido both graduated, while Todd Miller left to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Santiago Chile. Andy
Miller turned pro last week at the Air Canada Championships.
Despite losing three solid players, the Cougar's expectations are still high. "If we will be patient we will have a chance to be where we want to be at the end of the year," said Brockbank.
BYU has great experience in Harvey and Manuel Merizadle. Both players have played extensively in collegiate golf and bring much leadership to the team.
Harvey won the Pacific Coast Amateur, the Nevada State Amateur and finish fourth in the Porter Cup this summer, while Merizalde made it to the quarterfinals of the Western Amateur and qualified for the U.S. Amateur.
"We are going to get a couple of young guys to step up," said Brockbank. "We have two really great players in Nick Becker and Chris Graham. I definitely think they will be impact players, if not this year then next year."
BYU will have plenty of opportunity to compete against the top teams in the country this year, playing what could be one of their best schedules in years. "This is by far our best schedule, we've ever had" said Brockbank..
In two weeks the Cougar's head to Durham, North Carolina for the Ping Preview, a tournament BYU has previously been unable to play in due to a Sunday final round. This year the tournament was changed to a Saturday final round to allow BYU to participate.
"It's sure a nice gesture," said Brockbank." The Ping Preview is comprised of the top 12 teams in the country as well as invited participants. After a great season last year the Cougars received an invitation.
BYU enters the season 14 in the Golf World rankings and 19 in the Master Card poll. The Cougars continue their season this weekend in Albuquerque, N. M. as they compete in the William H. Tucker Invitational on September 15 and 16.
Long Beach State, 285-278-278--841
Oregon State, 282-285-286--853
Colorado State, 283-282-293--858
Washington State, 292-289-277--858
Portland State, 291-285-287--863
Wichita State, 281-28-294--863
San Jose State, 290-285-290--865