PROVO -- The No. 16 BYU men's golf team will wrap up its regular season on Friday and Saturday, April 23-24, as it hosts the 42nd annual PING Cougar Classic at the Riverside Country Club in Provo, Utah.
The PING Cougar Classic, BYU's lone home tournament, gives the team an opportunity to showcase itself as it prepares to head to Sunriver, Ore. for the Mountain West Conference Tournament next week.
"We practice all year for this week and the next couple of weeks," BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank said. "I expect our guys will come out and play well."
BYU enters the Classic enjoying a banner year. The Cougars have placed fifth or better in nine of their 10 outings so far this season, including a win at the Morris Williams Intercollegiate in March. BYU hit a snag earlier this month at the ASU Thunderbird, taking 10th.
Leading the way for the Cougars has been sophomore Oscar Alvarez, who owns a team-best 71.8 stroke average this year and a sizzling 70.9 in spring action. Alvarez has placed in the top 20 in BYU's last four tournaments and is currently ranked No. 56 in the nation. Freshman Jake Ellison is right behind Alvarez with a 71.9 average and multiple top-20 finishes, including taking third last month at the Morris Williams after shooting a career-low 65 in the first round. Ellison, a St. George native, is currently ranked No. 61 in the national individual rankings. Their continued steady play will be critical to BYU's success this weekend.
"I hope we come out and get after it because you can be assured that teams will come in and try to whip us," Brockbank said. "Our guys have to step up and play."
BYU tied for second place at last year's Cougar Classic, shooting 285-282-291--858 and losing by one stroke to champion Colorado State 283-288-286--857. Junior Greg Machtaler was BYU's best individual, tallying a four-under-par 69-73-70--212. Colorado State's Martin Laird was the best individual overall with his seven-under 67-69-73--209.
BYU has won or tied for first at the Cougar Classic four out of the last six years. Former All-American and current LDS missionary Andy Miller was the last Cougar to take individual honors when he shot a third-round record 63 in 2000.
The Cougar Classic will draw the following 14 teams with their current Golfweek rank in parenthesis: Denver (63), Colorado State (27), UTEP (52), Fresno State (69), Utah State (233), Southern Utah (195), Utah (91), Nevada (102), UC Davis, Wyoming (163), Hawaii (115), Boise State (140), Weber State (167), and Air Force (170).
The Riverside Country Club is home to a par-72 course that measures 6,902 yards.
Play is scheduled to begin around 8:00 a.m. Teams will play 36 holes on Friday and 18 on Saturday. The public is invited to attend and admission is free.
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