Golf: Utes Finish 3rd at Cougar Classic

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, Utah Golf team September 2,, 2016 in Salt lake City, UT. (Photo / Steve C. Wilson / University of Utah)

The University of Utah men’s golf team traveled down south to Provo for the PING Cougar Classic golf tournament. Though the Utes led towards the end of the tournament, it was the hometown BYU Cougars who came away with the victory as the visiting Utes ended up in third place overall.

The Utes carded 2-under par in the final round (286) and they had a combined score of 12-under par to close out the tournament. BYU got the better of the Utes by carding an 11-under (277) in that final round as they finished 22-under par overall. Loyola Marymount took second place as they finished by going 14-under par as a team. Rounding out the top five finishers at the tournament were teams from Santa Clara and St. Mary’s, who both finished the tournament at 9-under par.

Senior Gentry Hicks, who led the team with his first top 10 performance of the season, was proud of his team in spite of the loss.

“I think it was definitely an event that we should have won since we were in the lead heading into the final part of the tournament,” Hicks said. “But we are also getting better as a team, and we’ve been getting better all season. I think we are feeding off each other a lot right now, guys are meshing well together. There are a lot of positives that we can take from this loss.”

One of those positives was Hicks. He finished in sole possession of ninth place by posting a three round score of 5-under par. This was Hicks first top 10 finish since the 2012-13 season. Hicks’ performance is even more impressive when considering that the senior notched his lowest score of the season while matching a career low for a 54 hole event.

Freshman Jordan Costello was also a bright spot for the visiting Utes as Costello finished in a tie for 10th place with a combined score of 4-under par (212). Costello’s score marks a new season & career low for the freshman, and the performance is the second straight week that Costello has recorded a top 10 finish.

“Overall, I’m pleased with how we’re playing,” said head coach Garrett Clegg. “There are always things we can improve but we played really well against BYU. That was probably a tournament we could have won, but I think our guys played well, especially Gentry and Jordan. Gentry is having by far the best year of his career.”

The finish at the Cougar Classic now totals five top three finishes for the Utes this season, the most since the 1989-90 season.

“We have five top-three finishes this year, so we are getting better,” Clegg said. “We go to Iowa this weekend and then we have the Pac-12 Championship tournament after that. Iowa will be a lot like the Oregon meet where we finished in the top three, so we’ll be looking to play hard and compete there. Hopefully we can get the win and head into the conference tournament strong.”

The Utes will head to Iowa City for the Hawkeye Invitational that will take place on Saturday, April 15 and Sunday, April 16.

j.walch@dailyutahchronicle.com

@JaredWalch

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