April 7, 2008
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -
Twenty teams and an additional 20 individuals played 36 holes on Monday in the Valley of the Sun in Scottsdale, Ariz., at the sixth annual Wyoming Cowboy Classic, presented by Cleveland Golf. 120 total participants played all day at Talking Stick Golf Club under sunny, pleasant skies and finished two rounds just as darkness descended.
The Grand Canyon `Lopes lead the team race after dual rounds of six-under par 274. Their total of 548 (-12) is four shots in front of the defending event champion UC Davis Aggies, who have 552 (-8). The Aggies had the low team round of the day, a 273 (-7) in round one. Idaho and Utah are tied for third place at even-par 560.
The event-host Wyoming Cowboy golf team had a tough first day, shooting 298 (+18) and 292 (+12). Their two-round total of 590 (+30) puts UW in 18th place. One final round of 18 holes will be played on Tuesday morning with a shotgun start beginning at 7:45 a.m. PT.
"We had some decent individual rounds today, but as a team we played poorly in the morning and then only somewhat better in the afternoon," said Cowboy head coach Joe Jensen. "Our team has the potential to compete against this field, but needs to be more consistent in order to do that. Tomorrow will be a very important day for us.
"Overall, the tournament had some nice performances from some good players and good teams today. It is a tight, competitive field and there is still a lot to be determined tomorrow."
UC Davis' Nate Pistacchio and Oregon State's Paul Peterson are tied atop the individual leaderboard with a 36-hole mark of 134 (-6). Peterson is playing the event as an individual. The Aggie's Austin Graham and Nate Page of Southern Utah are only one stroke behind and tied for third place at 135 (-5).
Boise State senior Troy Merritt, who is ranked 15th nationally by Golfstat, shot a mark of 65 (-5) in round two and is in fifth place. Pistacchio and Michael Tulacz of Kennesaw State also had rounds of 65 on Monday, just one stroke off the tournament record.
Another highlight from the first day of action was a Cowboy Classic first, a hole-in-one bullseye during the afternoon from Utah Valley State's Nick Nelson on the par-three No. 11 hole.
The Cowboys' best efforts came from freshman Phil Henzlik and redshirt freshman Aaron Johnson who totaled 145 (+5). Johnson, who is competing as an individual, had UW's low round, even-par 70 in the opening round.
All six years of existence, the Cowboy Classic has been played at the North Course at Talking Stick, which is 7,133 yards and par 70.