May 1, 2000
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboys entered the 2000Mountain West Conference Men's Golf Championship on Monday knowing that theinaugural MWC Championship would be one of the nation's top collegiate golftournaments in the country. Three MWC teams entered this week ranked in theTop 11 in the nation. UNLV was ranked No. 9, BYU was No. 10 and New Mexicowas No. 11 in the most recent Golfstat National Rankings. But the Pokes gotoff to a strong start and find themselves in fifth place after shooting anopening round of 302.
Like his team, UW junior David Hearn exceeded expectations in thefirst round. Hearn entered the Championship ranked sixth in stroke averageamong MWC players, but with an opening round two-under par 70 he findshimself tied for third place.
UNLV held the team lead after the first round, shooting a 280.Scott Lander of UNLV is the individual leader at 68, two strokes ahead ofUW's Hearn. UW senior Reid Lende also fired an outstanding first roundscore of 73, one-over par, and is tied for 12th.
"We got off to a solid start," said Wyoming men's golf coach RogerPrenzlow. "David (Hearn), Reid (Lende) and Jake (Hunter) all played realstrong first rounds. David came into the tournament knowing that he couldcompete for the individual title, and he shot the lights out on the backnine with a 34. That round of Reid's was outstanding. He's our one senior,and he played with a lot of determination today.
"You don't want to get off to a slow start when you're playingagainst a field like this, and the guys did a good job of putting together asolid round and keeping us in contention. We're only six strokes out ofthird right now, and if we can get a little lower fourth score tomorrow, wecould make a move."
In addition to Hearn and Lende, UW junior Jake Hunter shot a 77 andis tied for 27th. Fellow Cowboy junior Kevin Kayden opened with an 82, andis in a tie for 33rd. Wyoming sophomore Mike Urbatchka is tied for 39th at84.
Not only were UNLV (No. 9 in the nation), BYU (No. 10) and NewMexico (No. 11) all nationally ranked entering the tournament, but ColoradoState (No. 38) and San Diego State (No. 41) were ranked in the Top 50.Wyoming holds a six-stroke advantage over San Diego State entering Tuesday'ssecond round.
The 2000 Mountain West Conference Championship is being played atPGA West in Palm Desert, Calif., on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Thecourse measures 6,921 yards and plays to a par of 72. Tee times begin at 8a.m., Pacific time each day. The tournament format will be 18 holes each ofthe three days for a total of 54 holes. The second round will tee off onTuesday, May 2 beginning at 8 a.m.
1. UNLV 280 (-8)2. Colorado State 287 (-1)3. New Mexico 296 (+8) BYU 296 (+8)5. Wyoming 302 (+14)6. San Diego State 308 (+20) Utah 308 (+20)8. Air Force 309 (+21)
David Hearn (Jr., Brantford, Ontario) T3rd 70 (-2)Reid Lende (Sr., Livingston, Mont.) T12th 73 (+1)Jake Hunter (Jr., Page, Ariz.) T27th 77 (+5)Kevin Kayden (Jr., Fremont, Ohio) T33rd 82 (+10)Mike Urbatchka (So., Sheridan, Wyo.) T39th 84 (+12)