Cougars golfers ready for NCAA West Regionals

CORVALLIS, Ore.--Fresh off a Mountain West Conference Championship, BYU's 12th ranked men's golf team gears up to take on the best in the West at the NCAA West Regional Golf tournament Thursday through Saturday at Trysting Tree Golf Course.

The Cougars are one of 27 teams invited to earn their way into the National Championships later this month in Durham, North Carolina. In a bit of controversy, BYU enters as the no. 5 seed and the no. 2 seed in District VII behind New Mexico, a team BYU defeated in the conference championships. According to the latest MastCard Collegiate Golf Rankings BYU is the third highest ranked team in the West behind no. 4 Arizona State and no. 6 USC, but ahead of both no. 13 New Mexico and No. 14 Arizona.

"We were unfairly seeded behind New Mexico," BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank said. "Head-to-head we are 3-2 against New Mexico and we beat them in every other statistical category. I just don't understand why the NCAA committee would seed them in front of us."

With the No. 5 seed BYU will tee off in the second threesome with Arizona and San Diego State. Tee times for the Cougars begin at 11:50 a.m. PST on Thursday and 7:50 a.m. PST on Friday. Saturday's Tee times will be determined according to standing in the tournament.

The Cougars have been very successful the last few years at the NCAA West Regional. Last year they led the field the first two days before slipping the last nine holes and finishing second to Arizona. In 1999 BYU finished third at regionals and went on to a seventh-place finish in the championship tournament. Since the NCAA regional format began in 1991, BYU has earned a birth to the championships four times.

To advance to the championships BYU must finish in the top 10. With 14 of the nation's top 40 teams playing in this tournament, the Cougars must play solid to advance.

"In this kind of tournament anyone of these teams can rise to the challenge and qualify," Brockbank said. "We've work hard all year for this opportunity, now its time to play our way in to the finals."

Leading BYU into the regional tournament are three outstanding senior golfers--All-American Billy Harvey, Scott Miller and Jesse Hibler. Harvey, who leads the team in stroke average (72.3) and was recently named first team All-MWC looks to make a splash in his fourth and final NCAA West Regional. Miller, son of legendary golf Johnny Miller, is the holds the highest individual ranking on the team at no. 42 by the MasterCard Collegiate Individual Golf Rankings. He finished in third place at the conference championships and has earned two top five finishes in the last three tournaments. Hibler is playing the best golf of his career as of late. He was two strokes away from winning the conference championship and has two top 10 finishes in the last two tournaments.

Another major force on this year's Cougar squad is Manuel Merizalde, who is ranked no. 46 by the MasterCard Collegiate individual rankings. Junior Kyle Wight is also playing well for the Cougars and was a big part in helping BYU win the conference championship.

The NCAA Championships will be conducted May 30 to June 2 at the Duke University Golf Club in Durham, North Carolina. Duke University is the host institution for this year's championships. Three regional tournaments, encompassing the current nine districts, will be conducted May 17-19. A total of 421 participants have been selected for the regional competition with 156 of these players advancing to the championships finals.


May 17-19

Trysting Tree Golf Club, Corvallis, Ore.


District 3 South

1. South Carolina

District 3 North

1. Wake Forest

District 7

1. New Mexico

2. Brigham Young

3. San Diego State

4. Colorado State

5. Fresno State

6. Nevada

District 8

1. Arizona State

2. Southern California

3. Arizona


5. Oregon

6. Pepperdine

7. Washington

8. California


10. Stanford

11. Oregon State

12. Pacific (California)

Additional Participants

1. Tennessee

2. Navy (Patriot League)

3. Oral Roberts

4. Austin Peay State

5. UC Irvine

6. Detroit

7. Weber State


District 7

1. Scott Carlyle - Hawaii

2. David Hearn - Wyoming

3. Eric Billinger - Denver

District 8

1. Jeff Wood - UC Santa Barbara

2. John Mallinger - Long Beach State

3. Ryan Hanratty - Washington State

Current MasterCard Collegiate Golf Rankings (May 13, 2000)

1 Georgia

2 Georgia Tech

3 Clemson

4 Arizona State

5 Texas

6 Southern California


8 North Carolina State

9 Florida

10 Wake Forest

11 Augusta State

12 Brigham Young

13 New Mexico

14 Arizona

15 Oklahoma State

16 Oklahoma

17 South Carolina

18 East Tennessee State

19 Houston

20 Duke

21 Northwestern

22 Oregon

23 Virginia Tech

24 Washington

25 San Diego State

26 Auburn


28 Alabama-Birmingham

29 Pepperdine

30 Charleston

31 Louisiana State

32 North Carolina


34 Kansas

35 Minnesota

36 Stanford

37 Alabama

38 Tulsa

39 California

40 Tennessee

41 Mississippi

42 Southern Methodist

43 Colorado

44 North Florida

45 Baylor

46 Colorado State

47 Georgia State

48 Georgia Southern

49 Virginia

50 Southeastern Louisiana

BYU Individual Rankings by MasterCard Collegiate Golf Rankings

42 Scott Miller SR Brigham Young Univ. 115.080

46 Manuel Merizalde JR Brigham Young Univ. 106.900

72 Billy Harvey SR Brigham Young Univ. 65.578

Current BYU Individual Stroke Averages

Billy Harvey 72.3

Manuel Merizalde 73.1

Jesse Hibler 73.8

Scott Miller 73.97

Kyle Wight 74.93

Ollie Nissenen 77.3

Jared Overton 77.33

Chris Graham 79

Berg Crawford 79.6