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Utah Men’s Golf Kicks Off Spring Season at John Burns Intercollegiate

The Utes ended their weekend tied for seventh, with a final tally of even-par through 54 holes of team play.
Utah+golfer+Chris+Bratcher+golfing+at+the+River+Oaks+golf+course+on+May+21%2C+2022.+%28Photo+by+Jonathan+Wang+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29
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)

 

University of Utah golf is back, as the men’s golf team traveled to Lihue, Kaua’i, Hawaii, on Thursday, Feb. 15 to take part in the John Burns Intercollegiate. 

The tournament, which took place at the Ocean Course Hōkūala, marked the team’s first event of the spring season. 

Day One

The Utes wasted no time getting back to form, carding a 9-under team score through the first round of the tournament. Utah ended day one in fifth place in a field of 20 teams. The Utes also placed better than several ranked programs, including No. 19 California and No. 24 Texas A&M.

The Utes’ strongest performance from the first day came from junior Braxton Watts, who had his best round of the season, carding a 5-under 67 and ending the day tied for fifth place, three shots off the clubhouse leader. Watts’ day one performance did not include a single score over par. 

Gabriel Palacios also had his best round of the 2023-24 campaign, shooting a 3-under 67 right behind Watts. The freshman from Guatemala had two birdies and an eagle, adding another birdie on hole 10 before shooting a double bogey on 18. Palacios finished his day in a tie for 12th place.

Day Two

Moving into day two of the John Burns Intercollegiate, the Utes cooled off from their hot start in round one. As a team, the Utes shot a 4-over 292, after being 9-under (279) a day prior. 

After a stellar first-round score of 2-under 70, Sergio Jimenez was the only Ute to finish under par on day two. The freshman from Spain finished the day with six birdies, carding a 5-under 67 at the end of his round. 

Jimenez’s round-two finish was good enough to move him up a whopping 20 spots on the individual leaderboard. Entering the final day of the tournament, the freshman sat at a tie for second place, 7-under through 36 holes. 

He however wasn’t the only Ute within the top 10 at the end of round two, as Watts managed to stay at the top of the leaderboard after his strong day one performance. Watts ended round two tied for eighth with a cumulative score of 4-under par. 

“It was extremely challenging conditions today,” coach Garrett Clegg said to press regarding day two of the tournament, “Sergio was amazing! … Overall we played OK, we played great on the hard holes and didn’t capitalize on the easy holes and we’re in a great spot heading into the final round tomorrow.”

Day Three

On Saturday, Feb. 17, the final day of the John Burns Intercollegiate the Utes ended their weekend tied for seventh, with a final tally of even-par through 54 holes of team play. 

As a squad, the Utes shot a 5-over on day three of the tournament, led by a 1-under round from Palacios. The freshman was the only Ute to card a negative round on day three and ended the weekend 3-over, tied for 44th place overall.

Individually, the Utes had two athletes finish top 10 within the individual standing at the tournament’s end. Both Jimenez and Watts maintained their status within the top 10 and finished tied for eighth overall (4-under) in a field of 122 athletes. 

 Go Nakatsukasa, who entered the tournament as an individual competitor for Utah was the Utes’ third-highest finisher of the weekend, with a final stroke total of 2-under through three rounds. The sophomore from California had an amazing final 18 holes, carding a 4-under with seven total birdies. 

As for the rest of the Utah field, Davis Johnson (individual) finished 5-over and tied for 50th place, Brandon Robison finished 10-over and tied for 81st, and Javier Barcos had an off weekend, finishing tied for 88th with a three-round score of 11-over. 

Looking ahead, the Utes will get another chance to hit the links on Monday, Feb. 26 in Duluth, Georgia at the Georgia State’s Invitational at The Ford.

 

[email protected]

@AustinEames55

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About the Contributors
Austin Eames, Sports Writer
Austin Eames began writing for the Daily Utah Chronicle as a junior. Now a senior at the U, he writes for the Sports desk. Originally from Mission Viejo, California, he loves the beach but was willing to trade it in for the gorgeous Utah mountains. He loves most if not all sports, especially Lakers basketball and Chargers football. In his free time, you can find him in the never-ending pursuit of improving his golf game.
Jonathan Wang, Photographer
Jonathan Wang is a photographer of The Daily Utah Chronicle and is pursuing a degree in electrical engineering. He joined the Chronicle in August of 2021. In addition, Jonathan is also a photographer for Utah's athletics department. In his freshman year at the University of Utah, Jonathan covered almost every athletic event, from football, volleyball, beach volleyball, tennis, swim to NCAA Gymnastics Regionals. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys swimming, skiing and hanging out with friends.

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