Cougars Fall in a Playoff at MWC Tournament
BYU's Greg Machtaler, Oscar Alvarez, and Jake Ellison Earn All-MWC Honors
SUNRIVER -- After being tied with New Mexico at the end of play, the BYU men's golf team lost by one stroke on the opening playoff hole in the Mountain West Conference Tournament Saturday in Oregon.
The Lobos played a blistering final round of golf to come back from a three-stroke deficit at the start of the day to have the two teams locked up at 867 apiece.
The tie at the conclusion of three regulation rounds forced Mountain West Conference officials to conduct a playoff that included all five players from the New Mexico and BYU teams. The Lobos stayed hot in the playoff, finishing the extra hole at even par with four players making tough shots. BYU failed to match UNM's performance, carding a 1-over team tally on the hole.
"It came right down to the wire," said BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank. "We got behind but we were able to get it back to a tie. Obviously it was their game to win. We kept missing putts and they kept getting up and down to make par. But I was really pleased with the guys' effort."
These two teams are not strangers to close competition. The two previous conference tournaments have showcased a similar contest between BYU and UNM.
Two years ago they were tied after the second round. BYU ended up winning that tournament in the third round with a solid team score of 291, while UNM dropped to fourth with a less impressive team score of 300.
UNM came back in 2003 to win the title, leaving the Cougars with a sour taste in their mouth after a second-place finish. The rivalry was heightened this weekend with BYU and New Mexico needing a playoff to determine this year's champion.
Saturday's win at Oregon's Crosswater Country Club boosts the Lobos into an automatic spot in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. BYU meanwhile looks forward to a possible at-large bid and rematch with the Lobos in the West Regionals, which will be held at the same Oregon Sunriver Resort in just three weeks.
Cougars Oscar Alvarez and Gary Machtaler finished seventh and eighth, respectively, among individual performers. Alvarez posted a 2-under-par 214 while Machtaler finished one shot behind at 1-under-par 215. New Mexico's top two players, Charlie Beljan and Jay Choi, both tied for fifth with three-day totals of 213.
No one, however, was close to UNLV's Ryan Moore, who finished with a 5-under-par 67 in the final round to claim individual honors at 10-under-par 206. Colorado State's Nolan Martin and San Diego State's Mark Warman finished three strokes back at 209 while CSU's Martin Laird placed fourth at 211.
Three Cougars earned spots on the Mountain West All-Conference golf team, for their outstanding performances. Greg Machtaler, Oscar Alvarez, and Jake Ellison were each honored.
NCAA participants and seedings will be released on Monday, May 10.
TEAM FINISHES SCORE
1. New Mexico 295-286-286-16*=882
2. BYU 292-286-289-17*=883
3. UNLV 296-290-287=873
4. San Diego State 288-294-292=874
5. Colorado State 289-295-292=876
6. Utah 293-297-289=879
7. Wyoming 307-303-301=911
8. Air Force 320-306-303=929
* - Team playoff hole score after being tied at 867
INDIVIDUAL FINISHES SCORE
1. Ryan Moore, UNLV 70-69-67=206
2. Nolan Martin, CSU 72-67-70=209
Mark Warman, SDSU 69-70-70=209
4. Martin Laird, CSU 64-73-74=211
5. Charlie Beljan, UNM 71-71-71=213
Jay Choi, UNM 72-70-71=213
7. Oscar Alvarez, BYU 73-71-70=214
8. Greg Machtaler, BYU 70-74-71=215
9. Spencer Levin, UNM 74-71-73=218
10. Aaron Goldberg, SDSU 74-73-73=220
(Does not include playoff holes)
BYU GOLFERS SCORES
7. Oscar Alvarez 73-71-70=214
8. Greg Machtaler 70-74-71=215
T11. Ron Harvey Jr. 76-73-72=221
T15. Jake Ellison 77-68-78=223
T18. Todd Miller 73-75-76=224
(Does not include playoff holes)