May 1, 2004
BEND, Ore. -
The Wyoming Cowboys shot their best round of the tournament on Saturday, carding a 13-over par round of 301, and placed seventh in the final standings of the 2004 Mountain West Conference Men's Golf Championship. The Cowboys finished 32 strokes ahead of eighth place Air Force. Wyoming's 301 was two strokes better than its round of 303 on Friday, and six strokes better than its opening round 307 on Thursday, but UW was unable to make up any ground on the field to finish seventh out of eight teams.
Brigham Young entered the final round with a three-stroke lead over New Mexico, but the Lobos fired a two-under par round of 286 on Saturday, while BYU shot a one-over, 289 and the two teams concluded the 54-hole event tied at 867, forcing a playoff. The format for the playoff was a team playoff, with the first group being a foursome of each team's number four and five players. The second grouping was a sextet, with the number three, two and one players from each squad paired together. The top four out of five scores for each team at the conclusion of each hole were counted until one team gained the advantage. New Mexico won the first playoff hole (17-16) to capture its second consecutive MWC Men's Golf Championship.
In the individual championship, Ryan Moore of UNLV carded a five-under par round of 67 in the final round, and posted an MWC Championship record 10-under par score of 206 for 54 holes to capture medalist honors. Moore began the final round tied for second, only two strokes back of second round leader Martin Laird of Colorado State. Laird finished with a two-over 74 on Saturday to place fourth at 211 (-5). Nolan Martin of Colorado State and Mark Warman of San Diego State tied for second at 209 (-7).
Wyoming senior Jason Aichele was tied for 18th place entering Saturday's concluding round. He shot a five-over par round of 77 on Saturday to fall into a tie for 24th place at 226, 10-over par. Cowboy junior Matthew Brunk sat in a tie for 21st place to begin Saturday's round. He shot a three-over par round of 75 to tie with his teammate Aichele at 226.
The best round of the day, and of the tournament, for Wyoming was shot by sophomore Niel King on Saturday. King fired an even-par round of 72, and moved up four spots from 33rd to 29th. King carded a final 54-hole total of 13-over par 229. Rounding out the scores for Wyoming were sophomore Eric Baily, who placed 33rd at 17-over 233, and freshman Jeff Franks, who posted an 18-over par total of 234 to tie for 34th in the field of 40 golfers.
"We played better today, shooting a 301, but we were too far back to make up any ground in the team standings," said UW men's golf coach Joe Jensen. "It was great to see Niel (King) shoot a really strong round as a sophomore. Jason (Aichele), Niel and Matthew (Brunk) were among the leaders in the tournament in pars, but we had too many big numbers (bogeys, double bogeys). In our conference, with the quality of teams, you can't afford to put up big numbers like we did on some holes.
"With a relatively young team, this final round gives us something to build on for the future. We had a lot of young players gain a experience this week and this season. Jason is our only senior, so we will have a strong core of players coming back next year."
No team finished under par for the tournament and only eight of the 40 players, or one fifth of the field, finished under par for the tournament.
Entering this week's Mountain West Conference Championship, five of the MWC's eight teams were ranked among the Top 40 teams in the country by the Golf Coaches Association of America/Precept Coaches' Poll. UNLV was ranked No. 13, BYU was No. 14, New Mexico No. 18, Colorado State No. 27 and San Diego State No. 35.
The 2004 Mountain West Conference Men's Golf Championship was played on the Crosswater Course at the Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Ore. The Crosswater course measured 7,568 yards and played to a par of 72. This tournament concludes the 2003-04 regular season for the Wyoming Cowboys.