Utah Golf Struggles at Arizona Intercollegiate

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Abu Asib

The magnificent view of the golf course at the Wasatch Mountain State Park during early fall colors in late September, 2020 (Photo by Abu Asib | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sean Overton, Sports Writer

 

The University of Utah Golf program opened the David S. Layton Golf Academy just before the start of the Utah Men’s Golf season. The 7,000 square foot facility is loaded with technology to help the team train better. The athletics department hopes that this gives Utah a larger recruitment advantage and helps the team train more effectively. It might be quite some time until the change is noticeable, but it was a necessary improvement to the team.

Although the new facility has been opened, the team hasn’t been able to practice together yet this semester. “This season will be a lot different than any prior,” said head coach Garrett Clegg.

The team kicked off their season on Jan. 25 at the Arizona Intercollegiate in Tucson, Arizona. They were hoping to start their season with a strong performance, but the first round didn’t go as expected.

Despite Tristan Mandur and Blake Tomlinson both shooting +4 and placing in a tie for 20th  place, the Utes finished the first round in a disappointing 15th place. Utah finished just one point better than Loyola Marymount, and five points better than New Mexico State, who finished last in round one.

The second round showed some improvement for the Utes as Mandur and Mitchell Schow both shot +2 in the second round. Mandur sat tied for 36th at the end of the round, with Blake Tomlinson just one stroke behind him and tied for 41st.

Coming out of the second round only two teams didn’t have a player who shot a total below par for a round, Utah and New Mexico State, and it showed on the leaderboard. Utah sat 16th while New Mexico State sat 17th. Loyola Marymount had edged past Utah in the second round and moved up to place 15.

New Mexico State also passed Utah midway through the third round, but the Utes recovered and evened the score at the end of the first nine holes. Tomlinson finished the first nine shooting one under par, and Mandur and Schow finished them at par.

All of New Mexico State’s players finished the first nine under par or even, but the Utes managed to catch them in the second half. New Mexico State’s Trey Diehl shot a triple bogey on hole 18 (par four). This was just what Utah needed to jump ahead.

Utah finished with a total of 904, just 12 strokes behind Loyola Marymount and Washington. The team finished 52 over par (552) and ended the day as number 16. Blake Tomlinson shot seven over par and placed in a tie for 28th. Tristan Mandur shot 9 over par and finished in a tie for 34th. The team finished just one point better than New Mexico State and narrowly managed avoiding a last-place finish.

Arizona won the tournament and finished three under par and was the only team to finish under par in total.

Despite the discouraging results, the Utes will look to change the tide as they travel down to St. George to tee off in the Pat Hicks Thunderbird Invitational. The invitational will take place at Sunbrook Golf Club from Feb. 6-8.

Hopes are high for the team to be able to conduct practice together before the next invitational. If they are able to have team practice together in the new facility, I wouldn’t be surprised if they bounce back and play some of their best golf next week.

 

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@SeanOverton3