Utes stumble in Palm Springs

By Marco Villano, Staff Writer

Things looked as if they were turning around for the Ute golf team a week ago, when it finished in the top 10 for the first time this year. But last weekend, they turned in their worst performance of the season.

The Utes played in the Wyoming Desert Classic at the Classic Club in Palm Springs, Calif. They put themselves out of contention after the first two rounds, played on Saturday, by finishing in 17th place and 40 strokes behind the leaders.

Utah ended up jumping one position to 16th place, finishing with a score of 931, 54 strokes behind Colorado State, which won the tournament at seven over par. The course is known for being tough and, impressively, for the first time this season the winning team shot over par.

Individually for the Utes, Chance Cota led the way yet again with a final score of 12 over par that put him in 35th place. He struggled the first two days shooting an 81 in his second round. Cota got it together in the final round and shot a one-under-par 71.

True freshman Kaleb Mahanes followed Cota with a tie for 56th place in his first tournament with the Utes. His three-round total was 17 over par, coming after a rough first round of 81, but still a good showing for the young gun right out of high school. Head coach Randall McCracken was unavailable for comment.

The other three players who traveled with the team in the Desert Classic finished outside the top 60. Joe Webber finished with a score of 19 over, while Chase Hite shot 23 over and Jeff Kitches limped in at 24 over.

The Utes are taking a couple of weeks off before their next tournament, the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate in Las Cruces, N.M. The tournament is hosted by New Mexico State University and will be played Oct. 27 to Oct. 28.

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