Cougars Finish Third at MWC Championships
SUNRIVER -- Led by sophomore Devin Heid, BYU earned a third-place finish at the 2002 Mountain West Conference Championships at the Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Ore.
Heid shot a final round 73 to finish fourth in his first MWC Championship, but it wasn't enough to propel the young Cougar squad past red-hot UNLV and experience-laden No. 23 New Mexico.
"Our guys fought hard and played their guts out, we just gave up a few shots coming in that maybe cost us the chance to win," BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank said. "Third place is not a bad showing for the Cougars. We gave UNLV and New Mexico a run for their money."
BYU, who was three shots behind UNLV heading into today's round, finished six shots behind the Rebels and two shot behind New Mexico. BYU finished one shot ahead of No. 20 San Diego State while Wyoming, Colorado State, Air Force and Utah rounded out the remaining teams.
Once again the Cold and windy conditions plagued the tournament field. For the tournament, Heid was BYU's "Mr. Consistent" shooting 72-71-73--216 even par for the tournament.
"I was able to get up and down when I needed to, but I just had a few holes that kept me from shooting a real low score," Heid said. "You always leave a few shots out there, but I played pretty consistent every round."
Freshman Ron Harvey Jr. had the Cougars' best final round shooting one-under 71 to finish in 13th place overall. This was the first conference championship for Harvey, Heid and true freshman Greg Machtaler.
Manuel Merizalde, who was named first team All-MWC today, struggled in the final round of his last conference championship shooting a six-over 78 and finishing in a tie for 20th. Fellow senior Kyle Wight, who fought a stiff head cold all tournament, fired his second consecutive round to finish tied for 26th at 223 seven-over. Machtaler, who has been the hottest Cougar the last three tournaments, finished tied with Wight in 26th place after shooting a final round 76.
"I'm proud of how we are playing right now," Brockbank said. "To shoot nine-over as a team for this tournament in these windy conditions is outstanding. I think we are heading in the right direction as we get ready for the NCAA Regional Tournament."
With the regular season and conference championship behind them, the Cougars now will prepare for the 2002 West Regional held in Albuquerque on May 17-19.