April 27, 2005
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's golf team will begin play tomorrow at the Mountain West Conference Tournament. The 2005 MWC Men's Golf Championship returns to Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Ore., April 28-30. This will mark the fifth straight year the event will be held at the resort. The men will once again play the Crosswater Course which is situated on 600 scenic acres of woodlands and wetlands. Crosswater is threaded by the Deschutes and Little Deschutes Rivers. The course measures 7,568 yards and plays to a par of 72.
Arguably one of the top men's golf conferences in the nation, the MWC boasts two teams ranked in the top-five, UNLV (#1 according to GolfStat) and New Mexico (#5). Two additional teams, BYU (#22) and San Diego State (#42), also rank in the top-50. The defending NCAA individual champion, UNLV's Ryan Moore will also be competing.
New Mexico, (295-286-286 = 867, +3), is the defending MWC team champion. The Lobos beat BYU by one stroke in a playoff hole in 2004. Moore, (70-69-67 = 206, -10) is the reigning individual title holder.
"We will focus this week on how to play the course and not the other teams," said UW head men's coach Joe Jensen. "It is a tough enough course that no team should run away with the tournament, and the weather is not supposed to be good, so those things should help us. We need to play solid, mistake-free golf and keep in the right frame of mind."
The forecast calls for cool, cloudy weather with a chance for rain showers during the three-day tournament. The championship will consist of 54 holes, 18 each day, with tee times at 10:30 a.m. (MT). The winner of the MWC Tournament receives the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
"Our team is on the fence right now," adds Jensen. "We know that we can compete and play well. We just need to play like that come tournament time. We're an improved and pretty confident team, and we know that we can be in the mix.
"It is somewhat unique that we are at this stage with only five guys available to compete. We have set goals as a team, bought into the direction we would like to see ourselves go in and are all on the same page. These five have played a lot of rounds and events this season, and that will benefit them at the conference tournament."
Each team will play five golfers and count the top four scores. The Wyoming squad will consist of three juniors, a sophomore and a freshman. UW will travel redshirt junior Dan Silva, juniors Eric Baily and Niel King, sophomore Jeff Franks, as well as freshman Dave Stewart.
Silva leads the Cowboys with a stroke average of 74.24 this season, followed closely by Baily (74.83), Franks (74.93), King (76.72) and Stewart (76.83).
The Cowboys have been playing some good golf of late and Wyoming has produced several team and individual bests at their last two tournaments.
At the Cowboy Classic, UW's team finish of second place and score of 847 were both season bests, as well as their third round score of 280. Eric Baily, Dan Silva and Dave Stewart each bettered or equalled their season low rounds. In fact, Baily and Stewart each carded career low rounds and career high finishes.
At the Cougar Classic, UW's team score of seven-under 281 in the second round was the most strokes under par the Cowboys have shot in a single round this season. Dan Silva equalled his career high finish of 11th and bettered his career low round from the week before with a 67. Silva also tied the low individual tournament score by a Cowboy this season with his total of 208 (-8).
During those last two events, Dave Stewart continued his streak of low rounds, and has now recorded scores of 74 or better in 10 of his last 13 rounds. In that span, he has lowered his stroke average from 78.94 to his current mark of 76.83.
All eight MWC schools sponsor men's golf programs. The Cowboys will be paired with Utah for both the first and second rounds. Utah enters the MWC Championships placed higher than the Cowboys in national rankings, however, Wyoming has finished better than Utah the last three tournaments.
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.