PROVO, Utah –The men’s golf team is embarking on a new season with new faces and a new conference.
No longer a member of the Mountain West Conference, the Cougars will battle for a West Coast Conference title with several changes from last year. Gone are seniors Esteban Calisto and Cameron Edens, but BYU coach Bruce Brockbank is excited for the young talent that he has this year. Especially the talent of reigning MWC stroke leader Zac Blair.
“Zac had a great summer,” Brockbank said. “He was on the Walker Cup watch list. That’s the first time we’ve had someone on the list since Daniel Summerhays. That's pretty impressive company considering Daniel is now playing on the PGA tour.”
During the summer Blair played in 10 national events, winning the Northwest Player Championship. He was also the runner-up in the Sahalee Players Championship and the Sunnehanna amateur and qualified for the US amateur, which he completed just before school started.
“He has really stepped up his gane and is an All-American candidate this year,” Brockbank said. “His improvement has been huge since last season.”
Improvement is essential for the upcoming season. With so many key players from last season who have moved on, the Cougars will look to Jordan Hammer, Michael Jurca and Stephen Archibald, three recently returned missionaries to help carry the load.
“We have some great leaders who have come off their missions,” Brockbank said. “They come to practice with a great attitude and are passionate about leading the team."
The returned missionaries should help with the depth of the team along with the incoming freshman on this year’s Cougars squad. BYU has four freshman, Patrick Fishburn, Devon Purser, Dalton Stanger and McCoy Willey, each an all-state golfer. On top of that, they are also great athletes. Fishburn and Purser were also all-state basketball players in high school.
With the new talent and a change in scenery, the Cougars hope they can improve dramatically upon the finishes from last season’s tournaments. The Cougars finished in the top-10 seven times last season, and with the improvements of Zac Blair and the rest of the squad, the team should see even more success this year.