Utah Golf Struggles at Fighting Irish Classic Despite Valiant Effort


Jonathan Wang

Utah golfer Chris Bratcher golfing at the River Oaks golf course on May 21, 2022. (Photo by Jonathan Wang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Kyle Garrison, Sports Writer


The Utes golf team competed in the Fighting Irish Classic this past Labor Day weekend. Despite a slow start to Day One, the Utes were able to claw their way back to secure 13th place out of 15 teams. 

Team Performance

Round one was a major factor in the Utes’ struggles this weekend. Posting a score of 294 in the first round of play was very tough to recover from, even with rounds two and three ending at 283 and 284 respectively. Utah Athletics was able to catch up with coach Garrett Clegg after the tournament, and he had this to say about the performance: “We had some good moments, but overall, this was not close to how we expect to compete. We have a lot of lessons to learn and a lot of growth has to happen this year.”

Individual Performance

Clegg was not thrilled with the Utes’ overall performance, but he had to be pleased with the play of Javier Barcos, who was able to finish one under par through the three rounds of play in South Bend. A common theme for the Utes this weekend was starting slowly. For Barcos, that was no different. After a 73-through round one, Barcos was sitting at 59th on the leaderboard. Determined to make a comeback, Barcos was able to fight his way back to 34th after a beautiful 67 in round two and again jumped to 21st with a 69 in round three.

To fit the theme of starting slow for the Utes, newcomer Hunter Howe was sitting in 62nd place after round one. Howe was able to settle in after the first round, and he eventually posted an outstanding 67 during the second round. After day one, Howe was sitting at 39th in the standings heading into the final round, which paved the way for Utah’s second-best scorer. Howe would end up shooting a 72 in the final 18 holes, which placed him in a tie for 41st. Howe would finish his first tournament with the Utes in the top 50 and looked like one of the bright spots going forward this season.

Monday was a great day for Davis Johnson like it was for many other Utes. Shaky starts were nothing new for Utah this weekend, but finishing strong was all that really mattered. Johnson was able to shoot even par on Monday, which secured a share of 45th place. Johnson was the third-place finisher for the Utes on the weekend, and he also cracked the top 50 overall.

As for the rest of the team’s starters, Tanner Telford and Braxton Watts both finished at 13 over par and tied for 80th place.

Looking Ahead

The first-round blunders were too much to overcome for the Utes, despite a valiant effort in rounds two and three. The team will look to bounce back in two weeks when they head up to Washington for the Husky Invitational.


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