Golf team disappointed after weekend in Texas

The Utah golf team competed in Price’s Give ‘Em Five Invitational in El Paso, Tex. last weekend, finishing in 13th place overall out of 14 teams participating.

It was not a great showing for any of the players, as Utah’s team score for the tournament was 866 (293-289-284), which combined for a +2 overall score for the course. To give that some perspective, the first place New Mexico State team shot 818, 46 strokes under par and 48 strokes ahead of Utah.

Even with the near last-place finish, things could have been worse. The Utes entered the third round in last place, but managed to put up their best team numbers for the course and jumped up one spot to keep from finishing last.

There weren’t many great individual performances for Utah. The top Ute golfer was Max McGrail, who shot a three-round total of 212 (-4), 72-73-67. McGrail finished 31st in the individual competition. Jose Pelayo finished in a tie for 52nd and was the next best scorer for the team with a score of 218 (+2), 73-73-72.

Utah had the second fewest number of pars in the tournament and had the highest average strokes on par-five holes — two areas that are critical for success in golf.

Coach Randall McCracken was unhappy and frustrated with the way the team performed in Texas.

“Obviously, we’re all pretty disappointed,” he said. “We’re all a lot better players than we showed.”

The performance of junior Brandon Kida illustrated McCracken’s comments perfectly. Kida, who is typically a consistent golfer for McCracken and the Utes, was not his normal self in this tournament. In the first round of the tournament, Kida shot a 79, which was seven strokes over par. Kida did show some resiliency and rebounded to an extent, posting an overall 220 with round scores of 79-72-69.

Make no mistake — the team is not playing their best golf.

Golf is very much a team sport because a single stroke for one player counts as a stroke for everybody. In order to have a competitive team you need five solid golfers to post good scores.

“[You] can’t have your number one guy or the number five guy shoot the way that they shot,” McCracken said.

McGrail echoed his coach’s feelings on the tournament.

“We definitely should’ve finished in the top 10,” McGrail said. “We’ve shown how good we can actually play. Our game is there, it’s just putting three rounds together in the same week.”

After the disappointing performance, McCracken is going to take a long and serious look at the state of his team.

“We really need to sit back and evaluate what we’re doing and make sure we’re complete,” McCracken said. “Obviously, [the players] weren’t this week. They are much better players than this. Nothing went correctly the entire time. I’m starting to question what we’re practicing and are we practicing the correct things?”

The Utes will look to bounce back when they compete in the Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational in Hawaii starting Nov. 3.

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