May 2, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboy golf team is finishing preparations for the 2012 Mountain West Conference Championship beginning Friday, May 4 and continuing through Sunday, May 5 in Tucson, Ariz.
"I feel good going into this tournament," Cowboy head coach Joe Jensen said. "For the most part the month of April was good for us. We played a lot of rounds around par and put a few under par. I have been impressed with our preparation all spring. The thing for us to be competitive is managing that day when we are not hitting 12 or 13 greens but still battle to put up a good round."
The 2012 MW Championship will be played at OMNI Tucson National Golf Club in Tucson, Ariz. The competitors will play the Catalina Course which plays a par 71 and measures 7,144 yards. The Cowboys have played the Catalina Course once this season at the University of Arizona National Invitational tournament, placing ninth and firing a five-over 293 in the second round, which is tied for the third-best round of the season.
This weekend's event features a nationally ranked field with three teams in the top 20 and five total teams in the top 75 of the Golfstat/Golfweek collegiate rankings. The highest-ranked team in the field is UNLV which is ranked fourth in the Golfstat collegiate rankings and No. 14 in the Golfweek poll. No. 14/15 San Diego State and No. 16/16 New Mexico are also ranked in the top 20 of both pools. TCU (No. 44/42) and Colorado State (No. 67/67) round out the teams ranked in the top 75 of both polls. The three other MW schools including Wyoming (No. 170/172) are ranked in the top 175 with Boise State ranked No. 161/152 and Air Force coming in at No. 163/158. The individual field features four players in the top 50 including No. 10 Julien Brun (TCU), No. 26 JJ Spaun (SDSU), No. 37 John Catlin (UNM) and No. 43 Derek Ernst of UNLV.
"The field is so good in our conference that there is no margin for error," Jensen said. "We have to play consistent for three rounds to be competitive this weekend."
Wyoming's five players will consist of seniors Mike May and Casey Ruff, junior Clinton Boutelle, sophomore Eric Parish and redshirt freshman Eddie Stewart. Boutelle carries the best stroke average for the Cowboys into the championship at 74.52. Stewart has the second-best stroke average of 75.05. Both Boutelle and Stewart lead the team with nine rounds of par or better this season as well as four top-25 finishes. Parish has played steady golf in the last two tournaments keeping his 54-hole scores within five strokes of par. He carries a stroke average 75.97 and has two top-25 finishes this season. Playing in their final conference championship, May and Ruff will each be looking to record their third top-25 finish of the season and improve their stroke averages of 76.41 and 76.25, respectively.
"We have played all six kids this season and they all have been solid at different times," Jensen said. "After speaking with our seniors they wanted the chance to go finish their careers on a high note. I know all the kids want to go there and play well this weekend to build some momentum going to the summer and carrying into the fall."
Parings and tee times:
In the first round, the Cowboys will be paired with Air Force. The championship will begin with tee times beginning at 8 a.m. MT. Wyoming and Air Force will be the final groups teeing off between 10 a.m. and 10:32 a.m. MT. The following is a list of the Cowboys playing partners and tee times.
Group 16-10 a.m. MT: Caleb Leestma (Air Force)- Mike May (Wyoming)
Group 17-10:08 a.m.: Philip Colwell (Air Force)- Casey Ruff (Wyoming)
Group 18-10:16 a.m.: Andrew Hoops (Air Force)- Eric Parish (Wyoming)
Group 19-10:24 a.m.: Robert Belz (Air Force)- Eddie Stewart (Wyoming)
Group 20-10:32 a.m.: Kyle Westmoreland (Air Force)- Clinton Boutelle (Wyoming)