Wyoming's Kurt Kowaluk Wins the Nevada Wolf Pack Golf Classic

Oct. 8, 2002


University of Wyoming senior Kurt Kowaluk captured his first collegiate tournament victory on Tuesday, shooting a final round of five-under par 67 at the University of Nevada Wolf Pack Classic. Kowaluk won by three strokes over Isaac Weintraub of San Jose State. Kowaluk concluded the three-round tournament with a 12-under par total of 204. Weintraub shot a nine-under par total of 207.

Host Nevada won the team title with a 13-under par total of 851 for 54 holes. Wyoming tied with Hawaii for 11th place at 17-over par 881.

Kowaluk, a native of Lively, Ontario, began the tournament with rounds of 69 and 68 on Monday, and entered Tuesday's final round one stroke back of Weintraub -- 137 to 136. Kowaluk fired the best round of his college career on Tuesday with a 67, while Weintraub shot a 71. For Kowaluk, it was his fourth Top 10 finish in five tournaments during the 2002 fall season. He attributes a lot of his success this fall to a change in the way he approaches the game, and the advice he has received from former UW golfer and teammate David Hearn.

"I talk a lot to David (Hearn) on the phone," said Kowaluk. "In fact, I talked to him Tuesday morning before my final round. We talk about how to approach the game. My approach now is to focus on the process of hitting a good golf shot rather than focusing on the outcome. That is what I've been doing differently this fall. I've focused on hitting good shots, hitting good putts, rather than thinking about I'm two-under par or I'm one-over par. Tuesday morning we talked specifically about putting -- about giving every putt a chance and trusting myself. I trusted my line today (Tuesday). My best putt was about a 12-footer for par. I didn't make any spectacular putts, but I was really consistent.

"I had five birdies in the final round, but more importantly I didn't have any bogeys. It meant a lot to me to go out in the final round and play my best when I really needed to to win the tournament.

"It's good to have a friend, like David, that I can talk to about things he is experimenting with as a player. Joe (UW golf coach Joe Jensen) has done a great job of getting us motivated to play, and David's advice on how he approaches the game has helped me have a good fall."

Hearn, who concluded his Wyoming career in the spring of 2001, was named the Canadian Golf Tour Rookie of the Year in 2002.

Although the Wyoming tied for 11th in the 15-team field, the Cowboys showed a lot of improvement through the three-round tournament, which gave UW men's golf coach Joe Jensen reason to feel encouraged about his young team.

"We shot even par as a team in the final round, and we played a really strong round in Monday's second round, shooting a two-under par round of 286," said Jensen. "If we wouldn't have begun with such a poor opening round, we could have been right in the thick of the team competition."

And in regard to his outstanding senior Kowaluk, Jensen had nothing but praise.

"Kurt (Kowaluk) is playing with so much confidence right now," said Jensen. "This was a good field of golfers. To win a tournament like this shows how well he is playing. I can't say enough about the fall season he has had. "

The Nevada Wolf Pack Classic was played at the Genoa Lakes Golf Club. The course measured 7,359 yards and played to a par of 72.

The Wolf Pack Classic was the final tournament of the 2002 fall season for the Cowboys.

Wyoming Results           Class  Score     Place

Kurt Kowaluk (Lively, Ontario) Sr. 69-68-67=204 (-12) 1stJason Aichele (Richland, Wash.) Jr. 80-70-74=224 (+8) Tie 49thEric Baily (Crofton, Neb.) RFr. 79-74-71=224 (+8) Tie 49thJonathan Shuss (Scottsdale, Ariz.) So. 79-74-76=229 (+13) Tie 68thDan Silva (Littleton, Colo.) So. 81-82-76=239 (+23) 79th

Team Standings

1. Nevada 281-286-284=851 (-13)2.UTEP 289-280-287=856 (-8)3.Denver 287-284-290=861 (-3)4.Washington State 294-277-294=865 (+1)5.Wichita State 289-287-290=866 (+2)Lamar 292-284-290=866 (+2)7.San Jose State 289-283-296=868 (+4)8.San Diego State 290-289-290=869 (+5)9.Louisiana-Monroe 291-291-293=875 (+11)Portland 300-283-292=875 (+11)11.Wyoming 307-286-288=881 (+17)Hawaii 296-298-287=881 (+17)13.New Mexico State 303-291-293=887 (+23)14.Boise State 303-298-297=889 (+25)15.San Francisco 306-302-304=912 (+48)