UVU's Casper named ASC Golfer of the Year

By Jay Hinton

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, May 2 2012 8:58 a.m. MDT

NORTH STONINGTON, Conn. — Despite wind, rain and temperatures that dipped into the 50s, Utah Valley University golfer Mason Casper shot a final-round 75 Tuesday at the America Sky Golf Championships to move up one spot and finish third overall at 5-over par at the par-72, 7-252-yard Lake of Isles Golf Course.

“Mason easily could have won the golf tournament,” UVU men’s golf coach Chris Curran said. “A missed shot here and there and a missed putt here and there was the difference. He, by far, had the best season in UVU history.”

Casper shot rounds of 73-73-75 for a three-day total of 221 and was named the America Sky Conference Golfer of the Year.

For the year, Casper recorded seven top-10 finishes, including a win at the Battle of the Tetons, where he shot a 14-under par.

Casper, by being the top finisher not attached to the winning team, will await a possible at-large bid to the NCAA regional tournament. The announcement will be made Monday.

“I hope the season isn’t over for him just yet,” Curran said. “Mason had a great regular season. He is one of the best college players I have ever seen.”

Casper entered the final round tied for fourth with teammate Brayden Eriksen, who shot a final-round 78 and finished in a tie for fourth with Sacramento State’s Jake Johnson.

“For Brayden to finish in the top 5 as a freshman is a great honor,” Curran said. “He is a very hard worker, and it’s paying off. He had a great week. He played very intelligent golf and didn’t get into too much trouble and putted beautifully.”

For Eriksen, it was his second top 10 of the season and second in as many tournaments after finishing second at the Braveheart Classic in early April.

Both Casper and Eriksen were named to the ASC All-Tournament First Team along with Sacramento State’s Cameron Rappleye, who won the tournament at 2-under par (214), Jordan Weir, who finished second, and Jake Johnson.

As a team, the Wolverines finished fourth for their highest conference finish in school history.

Sacramento State (878) dusted the field to win the team title and nabbed the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA regional tournament. Houston Baptist (920) was second, while Hartford (927) was third followed by UVU (931).

Behind Casper and Eriksen, Stratton Schulz (83-76-81-240) finished tied for 28th, while Joey Olson (82-82-82-246) and Michael Dart (86-84-91-261) were tied for 40th and 54th, respectively.

2012 America Sky All-Conference First Team — Mason Casper, Utah Valley; Grant Rappleye, Sacramento State; Jordan Weir, Sacramento State; Matt Smith, Hartford; and Bryce Edminster, Binghamton.

Second Team All-Conference — Jake Johnson, Sacramento State; David Celura, Binghamton; Steven Kupcho, Northern Colorado; Jordan Herzog, Weber State; and Cameron Rappleye, Sacramento State.

2012 America Sky All-Tournament First Team — Cameron Rappleye, Sacramento State; Jordan Weir, Sacramento State; Mason Casper, Utah Valley; Jake Johnson, Sacramento State; and Brayden Eriksen, Utah Valley.

Second Team — Steven Kupcho, Northern Colorado; Andy Ariens, Houston Baptist; Ryan Williams, Sacramento State; Jordan Herzog, Weber State; Rob Seibly, Seattle; and Sam Matthew, North Dakota.

The Golfer of the Year Award is based on a combination of rankings from Golf Stat and Golf Week. Those rankings are also used to determine the All-Conference first and second teams.

Jay Hinton is a sports information assistant at Utah Valley University.

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