Trio of Ute seniors set sights on Nationals

By By Tye Smith

By Tye Smith

The U men’s golf team has a core of returning seniors this year that could set the stage for one of the best golf seasons ever by a Utah squad.

After coming out of nowhere to win two regular-season tournaments last year, the U golfers and coaches know how important the upcoming year will be.

According to head coach Wayne Fisher, “Everything has changed with our expectations. The program has really turned a corner.”

Fisher stated the team’s goal is to make it to the NCAA Tournament next spring. Acknowledging the pressure of the coming season, Fisher still thinks his team will perform well.

“I know this group is willing to do what it takes,” he said.

Fisher has good reason to believe in the future of his team. Nobody graduated last year, which provides the team with an unusually high amount of experience. Four golfers on the team will be seniors, and each contributes something different to the team.

“Luke [Swilor] has been with the program for all four years,” Fisher said. “Luke had a very strong summer and we are very excited for his senior year.”

Swilor, the team’s captain last year, has had much to do with the recent success of the U golf team. His leadership and consistency on the course make him a cornerstone of the group.

Garrett Clegg will also be returning this year. He transferred to the U from Minnesota prior to last season and quickly became a fixture for the squad. According to Swilor, Clegg started “a bit shaky” last year, but ended up playing very well.

Fisher is excited about the prospect of coaching Clegg for another year. “Garrett raised the level of our program with his work ethic,” he said.

Fisher says he believes players who demonstrate a strong work ethic are good leaders, and Clegg has proven him right on that point.

Carl Jensen, a Skyline High School graduate, proved that he was ready for the upcoming season during the summer, as he exceeded all expectations at the Utah State Amateur Tournament. In a 36-hole match play final, Jensen fell one hole short of the title, and came away with a well earned second-place finish.

The highlight of the tournament for many spectators was Jensen’s ability to hit huge drives. Averaging more than 300 yards per drive, Jensen’s length should be a major advantage on the collegiate circuit this year.

“Carl found some length this summer,” Fisher said, “And with it he found some confidence.” Swilor describes Jensen as a “wild player” who can be “very good when he gets his putter going.”

Nick Summers rounds out the team’s senior core. Summers is not expected to play at every tournament, but his presence and experience will be valuable to the team.

Swilor echoes his coach’s confidence about the potential for success.

“We are looking forward to winning a few more tournaments this year,” Swilor said.

After winning two tournaments last season, the team barely missed qualifying for nationals, finishing in a tie for fourth in the conference.

This year, Swilor and his teammates are determined to qualify for nationals. “Our main goal is to make it to the NCAAs,” Swilor said.

A strong core of seniors is not the only reason the golf team is excited about its prospects for next season. The newest member of the golf team, Chace Bickmore, won the title of Utah Junior Golf Association’s Player of the Year. Bickmore also performed well at the Utah State Am, winning three rounds of match play before being defeated in the semifinals by eventual champion Tommy Sharp.

With a roster full of consistent players like Ashdon Woods and Steve Newren, players and coaches alike expect a lot out of the 2004 Ute golfers.

“You can’t win without talent,” Fisher said, “and we have the talent.”

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