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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Golf opens season in New Mexico

By Bryan Chouinard

The Utah men’s golf team kicks off its season this weekend when it travels to New Mexico to take part in the 55th annual William H. Tucker Intercollegiate Tournament. The Utes are excited to put last season8212;in which they finished last in the Mountain West Conference

8212;behind them and get the 2009-2010 season under way.
This is the first of six fall tournaments for the Utes before breaking for the winter. The University of New Mexico will host this weekend’s tournament at the University of New Mexico Championship Course.

The UNM Championship Course is carved into the desert terrain of Albuquerque with largeelevation changes and rolling fairways, and from the tips the course is more than 7300 yards. PGA professionals such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Paul Casey all played in the Tucker as college athletes before becoming major money winners. A year ago UNLV was victorious at the Tucker while, the Utes finished ninth. The Utes were led by senior Chance Cota, shooting a final score of 218, which at the UNM Championship Course is two over par for three days.

This will be the first tournament without Cota for head coach Randall McCracken, who is depending on a small group of juniors to lead his young team this season. Travelling to New Mexico this weekend will be juniors Derek Adams, Chase Hite and Mike Branca, as well as sophomores Joe Webber and Kaleb Mahanes, all of whom got significant playing time last season.

“I’m expecting a lot from (Adams, Hite and Branca),” McCracken said. “But I got a lot of good sophomores and a good freshman who I’m expecting to be in the lineup.”

McCracken is expecting to use multiple lineups as the year progresses, unlike years pastwhen for the most part it was the same four or five guys who would be making the trip each week.

“I don’t think we will have an absolute set five every week like we’ve had in the past,” McCracken said. “We’ll have a different lineup quite a bit. You don’t play your best golf all year round, but the good news is that I think we are deep enough talent-wise.”

The Utes kick off the Tucker today and conclude play Saturday before gearing up for the Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational in Colorado Springs next weekend.

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