Cougars End Fall Season With Success

LAS -- BYU brings a close to the fall season with feelings of happiness and success.

BYU moved up to a fourth place finish out of 15 teams in the Las Vegas Founders Invitational with a solid closing round of 301. The team's solid play was due to finishing strong on their last few holes.

"All of our workouts with Coach Omer have paid off," said BYU head golf coach Sue Nyhus. "We were physically stronger and less tired on those last few holes than all the teams out there, which helped us pull ahead."

Nyhus is thrilled with the team's success thus far and looks back on the season with pure content.

"It feels great to end our season like this," Nyhus said. "We played our last three tournaments well. We have such a young team that it took a few tournaments to get going and to gain confidence, but we accomplished what we needed to accomplish in the fall season."

The Cougars beat six teams ranked above them, which will not only help BYU's ranking but also their chances of advancing to the NCAA Regionals tournament at the end of the spring semester.

Sophomore Margaret Gibby finished the tournament and her fall season with a huge smile after leading the tournament in the first round and finishing 10th overall.

"I got what I wanted," Gibby said. "I wanted to finish well in the last tournament of the season and I did it on a tough course."

The testing course conditions required tremendous focus from the team in all three rounds, Gibby said.

"On this particular course, you had to think about each individual shot that you were playing at that moment without looking into the future at your next shot," Gibby said. "I learned to stay in the present."

Now it is time to bring that focus from the golf course to classroom, Gibby said.

"In a way I'm relieved that the season has ended because I need to concentrate on school and keep my school performance up," Gibby said. "However, it's exciting to know that I still have all next semester to continue golf before the school year ends."

Gibby had four top 20 finishes of the five fall tournaments, two of them being top 10 finishes and one tied for 11th. According to Gibby, when reminiscing back on the Fall 2002 season, she will remember the season as a huge step in her golf career.

"I was finally able to show myself and everyone else that I can play at this level," Gibby said. "And that is just so exciting for me."

Freshman Symantha Mendenhall finished tied for 18th with 77-78-75--230. Sisters Natalie and Nicole Newren carded 79-76-77--232 and 84-77-73--234. Senior Jessica Gardner struggled with 82-84-82--248. And Freshman Danielle von Arnim, competing as an individual, shot 82-75-76--241.

New Mexico ran away with the title along with player Kristi Larsen who won individually at one-under-par after winning a three-person playoff.

Fin. Team Score

1 New Mexico 306-283-291--880 (+16)

2 UNLV 303-291-295--889 (+25)

3 Pepperdine 307-295-293--895 (+31)

4 Brigham Young 311-308-301--920 (+56)

5 San Jose State 314-303-306--923 (+59)

6 Texas A&M 324-306-305--935 (+71)

7 Colorao 312-316-309--937 (+73)

8 UC-Irvine 319-318-302--939 (+75)

9 Colorado State 331-306-306--943 (+79)

10 Denver Univ. 310-323-313--946 (+82)

11 Oregon 325-325-303--953 (+89)

12 San Diego State 319-324-313--956 (+92)

13 Hawaii 329-303-328--960 (+96)

14 Eastern Washington338-328-323--898 (+125)

15 Wyoming 342-339-329--1010 (+146)

BYU Players

10 Margaret Gibby 73-77-76--226 (+10)

T18 Symantha Mendenhall77-78-75--230 (+14)

T23 Natalie Newren 79-76-77--232 (+16)

T28 Nicole Newren 84-77-73--234 (+18)

T65 Jessica Gardner 82-84-82--248 (+32)

T43 *Danielle von Arnim 80-75-86-241 (+25)

* - competed as an individual