UVU golf: men's golf kicks off spring season at Pat Hicks Invitational

By Kellen Hiser

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Feb. 9 2014 10:26 p.m. MST

After a sabbatical of over three months, the Utah Valley University men's golf team returns to action at the Pat Hicks Invitational hosted by Southern Utah University. The Wolverines are one of a 10-team field competing Monday and Tuesday at the Sunbrook Golf Club in St. George, Utah.

The Invitational will be contested over 36 holes with 18 played Monday and a final 18 on Tuesday.

"We have high expectations this week," UVU head men's golf coach Chris Curran said. "We feel if we can go out and execute the way we know how we will have a chance to win. Our guys feel very comfortable on this golf course and are eager to get out and compete after a three and a half month break."

Seven Wolverines will compete at the par-72, 6,781-yard layout, led by junior Brayden Eriksen. In three tournaments during the fall season, Eriksen led the squad in scoring average at 72.13 and posted the best individual finish of any UVU golfer after placing second at the Battle in the Tetons. He finished in the top-10 in three of Utah Valley's five fall tournaments.

Senior Stratton Schulz, juniors Michael Dart and Preston Richards, as well as sophomore Corey Eccles, round out Utah Valley's five bags on the week. Richards appeared in all five fall tournaments, posting a scoring average of 73.07 with a 10th place finish at the season-opening Battle in the Tetons.

Senior Clark Fredrickson and freshman JT Timmons will compete as individuals.

Aside from UVU and host SUU, the tournament field includes Boise State, Dixie State, Cal State Northridge, North Dakota, Oral Roberts, WAC rival Seattle U, and in-state rivals Utah State and Weber State. UND is the only first-time participant, and Cal State Northridge returns after a one-year hiatus. The remaining eight all competed last year.

In last season's edition, the Wolverines finished in fifth place, only eight strokes behind tournament champion Cal Poly. Dart joined former Wolverine great Mason Casper as the top-scoring UVU golfers, as each finished in 12th place after firing a three-over 147.

The Pat Hicks Invitational is the first of six spring tournaments that will feature the Utah Valley men's golf team, culminating with its first-ever appearance at the WAC Championships. Held in Henderson, Nevada, in early May, Utah Valley will compete for a team spot and individual bids to the NCAA Regionals.

Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.