April 29, 2002
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The 2002 Mountain West Conference Men's Golf Championship teed off in Sunriver, Ore., on Monday, and the Wyoming Cowboys find themselves in sixth place with an opening round of eight-over par 296. Wyoming sophomore Mike Mezei fired an even par round of 72 on Monday, and is tied for fifth.
UNLV leads the tournament with an even par team score of 288. Wyoming is only eight strokes back of the leading Rebels. All eight teams are within 13 strokes of each other heading into Tuesday's second round. Mark Warman of San Diego State blistered the course with a four-under par round of 68 on Monday to take the individual lead. UW's Mezei is four strokes out of the lead.
All 40 competitors shot scores in the 70s to open the tournament, with the highest score being a 79. UW senior Mike Urbatchka, who is fighting for a possible bid to the NCAA Regionals, opened with a 77. Despite Urbatchka's 77, he is still within seven shots of second place in the tightly-grouped field.
"We shot a solid round on Monday," said University of Wyoming men's golf coach Joe Jensen. "It was a good start for us. We didn't play a spectacular round, but we did play well enough to keep ourselves in contention. Everybody shot in the 70s for us today, which is great. Mike Mezei shot the low round for our team with an outstanding par round of 72.
"I know Mike Urbatchka was disappointed with his opening round of 77, but I told Mike (Urbatchka) afterwards that he has two more rounds and there is no need to panic. He still is in position to receive a spot in the NCAA Regionals with a strong finish. Today, he couldn't seem to make a putt, but I expect him to come back strong tomorrow.
"The guys have been playing really well the last couple of weeks. We've been shooting around par as a team the last three rounds we've played. We were eight-over par today, and we were a combined seven-over par for the tournament at the BYU Cougar Classic. This is a very difficult course we're playing this week. The guys just need to focus on making pars. If each individual on our team plays within himself, we will have the kind of result we're looking for this week."
San Diego State is the favorite to capture the 2002 MWC team title. The Aztecs were ranked No. 20 in the most recent Golfweek Division I men's golf rankings, but the Aztecs find themselves in fifth place at 293, only three strokes ahead of the Cowboys. New Mexico was also ranked in the Top 25, at No. 23, entering the MWC Championship. The Lobos are tied with Air Force for third place at 292.
Wyoming's top individual for the 2001-02 season has been senior Urbatchka. Urbatchka recorded Top 10 finishes in each of his last two tournaments leading up to this year's conference championship. Urbatchka placed fourth at the Wichita State Shocker Classic and finished ninth at the BYU Cougar Classic. His season stroke average of 73.31 ranks No. 1 on the Cowboy squad and No. 13 in the conference.
One other Cowboy is ranked in the Top 25 in the MWC in terms of stroke average. That Cowboy is sophomore Mezei, who is averaging 74.39 strokes per round, tying him for 21st in the conference.
All eight MWC member schools sponsor men's golf. The format for the tournament is 54 holes. The second round is scheduled for Tuesday, April 30, and the final round is scheduled for Wednesday, May 1. Tuesday's second round will begin at 10 a.m. Pacific time (11 a.m. Mountain time). Wednesday's final round will tee off at 9 a.m. Pacific time (10 a.m. Mountain time).
This is the third year of the Mountain West Conference. UNLV won the inaugural men's golf title in the 1999-2000 season, and BYU won the team title in the 2000-01 season.
The 2002 MWC Men's Golf Championship is being played on the Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Ore. The course that the championship is being contested on is the Crosswater Course at Sunriver Resort. The Crosswater Course measures 7,188 yards and plays to a par of 72.
Wyoming Individual Results Class Scores Place
Mike Mezei (Lethbridge, Alberta) So. 72 (Even) Tie 5thJonathan Shuss (Scottsdale, Ariz.) Fr. 73 (+1) Tie 12thKurt Kowaluk (Lively, Ontario) Jr. 75 (+3) Tie 23rdMatthew Brunk (Fort Collins, Colo.) Fr. 76 (+4) Tie 28thMike Urbatchka (Sheridan, Wyo.) Sr. 77 (+5) Tie 33rd
1. UNLV 288 (Even)2. BYU 291 (+3)3. New Mexico 292 (+4) Air Force 292 (+4)5. San Diego State 293 (+5)6. Wyoming 296 (+8)7. Utah 298 (+10)8. Colorado State 301 (+13)