April 26, 2006
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's golf team will begin play tomorrow at the 2006 Mountain West Conference Men's Golf Championship. The event will take place Thursday through Saturday, April 27-29, at the Sunriver Resort's Crosswater Course in Sunriver, Ore.
This will mark the sixth straight year the event will be held at the resort. The course measures 7,630 yards and plays to a par of 72. Crosswater will also host the NCAA Championship, May 31-June 3.
New Mexico is the three-time defending MWC team champion. The Lobos beat UNLV by three strokes for the title in 2005. Wyoming will be paired with the Lobos and the Rebels in the first round on Thursday. BYU junior Nick Becker is the reigning individual title holder. All nine MWC schools sponsor men's golf programs.
Last season, UW finished sixth in the eight-team field with an event total of 898 (+34). Dan Silva was the Cowboys' top finisher at 221 (+5) and in a tie for 18th place.
Arguably one of the top men's golf conferences in the nation, the MWC boasts two teams ranked in the top-ten, BYU (#7 according to GolfStat.com) and UNLV (#8). Three additional teams, San Diego State (#28), TCU (#34) and New Mexico (#36), also rank in the top-40.
The championship will consist of 54 holes, 18 each day, with tee times at 10 a.m. (MT). The winner of the MWC Tournament receives the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
"Our goal will be the same as it's been all year and that is to play well and compete to win this tournament," said UW head men's coach Joe Jensen. "This will be a great event and our team is looking forward to being paired in the first round with two teams that are expected to compete for a national championship each year.
"I feel good about what this program has done. We have shown that we can be very competitive with a national schedule and in an extremely talented league. Six of the nine teams in the MWC will probably be playing in the NCAA's this year and I would argue that for a conference that percentage has to be one of the highest in the nation."
The Cowboys have had an up and down season, with their best tournament being a fourth place finish at the Oregon Duck Invitational. However, both the team and individual UW school records for a round have been broken by this Wyoming squad.
UW junior Jeff Franks equaled the lowest single round to par for an individual with his score of 65 (-7) in the second round of the Cougar Classic. At the Ron Moore Invite, Cowboy redshirt senior Matthew Brunk had set the individual mark with his score of 65 (-7). At that same event, UW's team tally of 273 (-15), was the best team round to par in UW men's golf history.
Franks leads the Cowboys with a stroke average of 73.53 this season, followed closely by Brunk (73.83), then Baily (74.73), Silva (74.87) and Shuss (76.67).
"We will not be taking our usual team, but we will be taking a more veteran team that at any given tournament can play well and rise to the occasion," adds Jensen. "Four of our guys (Baily, Brunk, Franks and Silva) have been in the lineup all year and know that they need to play consistent rounds. We don't really know what to expect from Jonathan (Shuss) since he has not played much this season, but he is a fifth-year senior who has played this course before, has worked hard and will be asked to step in and contribute."
The MWC will provide live stats for the Championship. You can find the live stats link on the MWC Golf Championship webpage at www.TheMWC.com. Simply click the golf championship link to track all the action. You can also go directly to Golfstat.com to find the live stat link.