Meet Javier Barcos, the Golfer Quietly Setting School Records


(Courtesy Utah Athletics)

By Chase Mullin, Assistant Sports Editor


When you think of elite athletes at the University of Utah, you might think of the handful of football players destined for the upcoming NFL Draft, or perhaps the jaw-dropping number of gymnasts and skiers from the U who competed in the Olympics in just the last 12 months. Recently, however, one athlete at the U has completely flown under the radar, quietly making school history.

Javier Barcos, of the men’s golf team, is arguably as good at his respective sport as any other athlete at the U. Because the golf team does not play on campus, and perhaps due to the fact that golf naturally doesn’t receive the same amount of attention from Barstool Utes as other sports, many students might not be aware of what Barcos has done this year.

So who is Barcos, what has he done this year and how did he get to this point?

A sophomore out of Estella, Spain, Barcos has already established himself as one of the best golfers to attend the U. In just his second full season of collegiate golf, Barcos has etched his name into the Utah golf record books on multiple occasions.

Earlier this season, Barcos set a school record for lowest individual 54-hole score, shooting 199: good enough for 11-under at the Notre Dame Collegiate, also known as the Fighting Irish Classic. Barcos’ performance was good enough for a second-place individual finish out of 80, and he led Utah to an impressive third-place overall finish out of 14 teams.

“I actually didn’t know I broke the record until like four hours after, then someone told me,” Barcos said. “The program has been around for so long and has had so many great golfers, so it made me really happy. It felt like I was on another planet.”

A couple of weeks later, at the Visit Stockton Invitational, Barcos set a record for lowest 36-hole individual performance in school history, going 13-under on 129 strokes. In the same tournament, Barcos earned a 54-hole score of 13-under (200), therefore giving him both the first and second-lowest individual 54-hole scores in the history of Utah golf.

This season has been a breakthrough one for Barcos, as his record-setting performances during his sophomore season have established him as one of the premier golfers of the entire NCAA. Before coming to Utah, Barcos had made a name for himself in the amateur European golf scene, having been ranked as high as third in the Spanish U18 rankings.

While playing in a tournament in England during high school, Barcos had an outstanding tournament that caught the eye of many coaches in attendance, including Utah head coach Garrett Clegg. Having only ever seen Salt Lake City in pictures, Barcos committed to Utah three weeks later and has loved it here ever since.

“I love the mountains — it’s a beautiful place. The views that we get in Salt Lake City, I haven’t seen anything like it anywhere else,” Barcos said.

Utah sports fans can thank Barcos’ grandpa for his success so far at Utah. When Barcos was five, his grandpa, who had recently retired, asked him if he would like to get into golf, and he frequently drove him to the nearest golf course. The rest is history.

“It was all because of my grandpa,” Barcos said. “The nearest course was 45 minutes away and I couldn’t have done it without him.”

In addition to his grandpa, Barcos attributes much of his success to his old coach, European professional golfer David Valls.

“The biggest inspiration for me is my coach back in Spain,” Barcos said about Valls. “I always look up to him — he’s been my favorite player for so long. I didn’t really have the golf channel growing up, so I grew up watching him and he inspired me.”

After college, Barcos hopes to play professionally in Europe. In the meantime, he is focused on his role on the Utah golf team, which is arguably the most talented overall team the program has had in recent memory.

While he might not be as recognizable to the masses as someone like Britain Covey, if you see Barcos on campus, say “hello” and maybe even ask for a selfie. Barcos claims that he is a quiet person at first, but once you get to know him, he’s actually pretty funny and talkative, so don’t be afraid to crack a joke or two with him.


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