It was a historic day for the University of Utah golf team this past Tuesday. For the first time in more than 25 years, it was able to win both individual and team championship titles at the Mark Simpson Invitational in Erie, Colorado at the Colorado National Golf Club. Kyler Dunkle earned Utah its first regular season individual championship since 2006 and the team won its first team title since 2009.
“It went great, overall, it was a really gutty and gritty performance,” said head coach Garrett Clegg. “The best thing was how we performed in the playoff. We played an incredible final round, we shot very well and the guys did a great job.”
Dunkle said that winning his first college event showed him that that practice and effort he and his team have put in this season, is all worth it once the hard work pays off.
Going into the third round of the tournament on Tuesday, the Utes were in third place behind both Colorado and Wyoming. Utah carded an 11-under par, which was not only the lowest round of the day but the second lowest round of the tournament.
“We talked about the fact that we were in a great spot in the final round and nobody expected us to be there,” Clegg said. “The message was to play freely and with no pressure and catch Colorado.”
Utah competed in a heated playoff against Colorado where the two teams finished tied at 22-under par in the 54 hole event. However, the Utes came out victorious after winning the tie-breaker on the 18th hole. Dunkle and Mitchell Schow birdied, and recording pars were Jordan Costello, Tristan Mandur and Blake Tomlinson.
Colorado finished the tournament behind Utah in second place with Wyoming following in third place.
“The difference was the way we started out,” Clegg said. “We played with confidence right from the beginning and played very solid golf with no mistakes.”
Dunkle scored a final round of 8-under par, finishing the event at 14-under par, to win an event for the first time since Dustin Pimm won the Wolfpack Classic. Dunkle’s final score of 64 that happened during the final round on Tuesday, ranks second lowest of all time, while his 54 hole score is tied for the lowest score in school history (202).
“If we work on our par 3’s … and continue to hit par 4’s and par 5’s like we have been, then we will be more successful in upcoming tournaments,” Dunkle said.
Utah head to the Nick Watney Invitational next week at the San Joaquin Country Club in Fresno, California on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 2-3.