BYU golf: Blair leads Cougars to first place standing

By Chris Scheitinger

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, April 26 2013 8:50 p.m. MDT

PROVO, Utah – Entering his last regular season collegiate tournament, senior Zac Blair fired a first round 66 followed by a second round 68 to lead BYU to a first place standing through 36 holes at the 2013 PING Cougar Classic.

In a complete team effort, BYU shot a first round 279 (-9) followed by a second round 276 (-12). The Cougars currently stand in first place at 21-under par, 12 strokes ahead of second place Air Force (-9). West Coast Conference foe St. Mary’s stands in the third spot at 3-under par through 36 holes.

“I was really hoping our guys would come out and play well this week, because we need it for the postseason,” BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank said. “Through about 12 holes this morning we were around even par, or right with the rest of the teams, and then we started making birdies, which we are very capable of.”

After shooting even par on the front nine of the opening round, Blair caught fire on the back nine converting six birdies including four straight to finish the opening round. Coming off a 6-under 66 during the first round, Blair made five birdies during round two finishing with a 4-under 68. He currently stands in sole possession of first place at 10-under-par.

“You can’t say enough about Zac,” Brockbank said. “He hit a few loose shots this afternoon, and to shoot 68, that just tells you he is a feisty competitor. He has a great short game and he obviously made some key putts.”

Freshman Joe Parkinson displayed a solid performance for the Cougars during Friday's opening rounds. After shooting a first round 70 (-2), Parkinson caught fire during round two making six birdies and one eagle. Carding a new career low 65 (-7) during the second round, Parkinson currently stands tied for second place at 9-under-par.

Junior Justin Keiley and sophomore Devon Purser added in strong efforts for the Cougars both finishing at 1-under-par through two rounds. Keiley made nine birdies on the day, carding a first round 71 (-1), followed by a second round 72 (E). Purser converted seven birdies through 36 holes finishing with an opening round 72 (E), followed by a second round 71 (-1). Both golfers stand tied for ninth place heading into tomorrow’s final round.

Junior Jordan Hammer made six birdies shooting 73 (+1) and 75 (+3) during the opening two rounds. He currently stands tied for 31st at 4-over-par. Individual competitor Stephen Archibald had a strong outing during day one, carding rounds of 68 (-4) and 73 (+1) to stand tied for fifth place at 3-under-par.

Southern Utah currently stands tied for sixth place with Wyoming at 10-over-par through 36 holes. SUU's Jake Holt led the team carding back-to-back rounds of 72. At even-par, Holt stands tied for 13th place entering tomorrow’s third round.

Utah State and Weber State currently stand in eighth and ninth place, respectively. Utah State shot an opening day 591 (+15) team score, while Weber State carded a 593 (+17) team score. Tanner Higham led the Aggies finishing at even-par through two rounds to sit tied for 13th place. Jordan Herzog and Matt Wahlen of Weber State both shot 148 (+4) during the opening 36 holes to lead the Wildcats.

"I'm excited to see what they do tomorrow," Brockbank said. "To come out with the lead, we need to go shoot another good score and continue to build on that confidence."

The Cougars will look to capitalize on Friday’s strong effort during Saturday's third and final round with tee times beginning at 8:30 am MDT. Follow the competition live on golfstat.com.

Individual Scores

1 Zac Blair, 66, 68, -10

T2 Joe Parkinson, 70, 65, -9

T9 Devon Purser, 72, 71, -1

T9 Justin Keiley, 71, 72, -1

T31 Jordan Hammer, 73, 75, +4

Team Scores

1 Brigham Young, -21

2 Air Force, -9

3 St. Mary's (CA), -3

4 Boise State, +2

5 Colorado State, +4

T6 Southern Utah, +10

T6 Wyoming, +10

8 Utah State, +15

9 Weber State, +17

Chris Scheitinger is a student at Brigham Young University studying Public Relations. Contact him at cscheitinger@gmail.com

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