Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
Zac Blair, shown here golfing at the men's State Amateur tournament, has been BYU's best golfer this season.
PROVO, Utah – BYU’s men’s golf team is excited to compete in its first tournament of the new year starting Wednesday, following a fall season which saw the Cougars place in the top five in three of five tournaments.
The Cougars begin spring tournament play at the John Burns Intercollegiate at Turtle Bay Resort in Kahuku, Hawaii. The tournament, which will be played over a three-day span from Wednesday to Friday, features 16 teams including three teams ranked in the top 25.
“It’s just nice to get out and compete again,” BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank said. “What I’m excited about is the attitude the guys have and the excitement they have to go play and compete.”
The Cougars, who were picked to finish third in the West Coast Conference in a preseason poll of the WCC head golf coaches, will look to get off to a quick start during the spring season. Senior Zac Blair and junior Justin Keiley were both selected for the 2013 WCC Men’s Golf Preseason All-Conference team and will need to be at the top of their game to lead the Cougars on to postseason play.
“We need Zac to step up and take a leadership role and play like he did last year as an All-American,” Brockbank said. “He’s pretty optimistic about the tournaments the next few weeks and he’s got a great game plan. His mind is in a good spot. I expect him to step up and play well and be a leader on and off the course.”
Coming off his first career individual tournament title at the SCVB Pacific Invitational, sophomore Devon Purser will also look to contribute at next week’s tournament. Rounding out the starting five is junior Jordan Hammer and freshman Joe Parkinson, who will compete in his first tournament of the season.
Following the John Burns Intercollegiate, the Cougars will travel to Southern California to compete in the North Ranch Intercollegiate Feb. 25-26.
“It will be really interesting with all the optimism, with all the excitement coming out, it will be interesting to see how we handle a really tough golf course, both in Hawaii and Los Angeles,” Brockbank said. “We just have to be a little bit tougher mentally than the rest of the teams, and if we do that I think we’ll have some good events.”
Live stats of BYU’s tournament play throughout the spring season and next week’s John Burns Intercollegiate can be followed at golfstat.com.
Chris Scheitinger is a student at Brigham Young University studying Public Relations. Contact him at email@example.com