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UVU golf: coach Curran looks to build off last season's success

By James Warnick

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Aug. 31 2014 10:27 p.m. MDT

Utah Valley senior golfer Preston Richards waits for his ball to land.

Garrit Johnson, UGA

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With seven returning letterwinners and seven top-five team finishes a season ago, head Utah Valley University men's golf coach Chris Curran wants to build off his team's recent success in 2014-15.

Of the seven top-five finishes that UVU recorded last year, three of them were third or better, as UVU placed second at the Battle in the Tetons and the Jackrabbit Invitational and third at the program's first-ever WAC Championship.

The seven returning letterwinners include a trio of seniors, three more juniors and a sophomore. The three Wolverine seniors are Michael Dart, Brayden Eriksen and Preston Richards. Noah Cook, Corey Eccles and Clark Fredrickson will all enter their junior campaigns, while JT Timmons, who won last season's Pat Hicks Thunderbird Invitational, will be the squad's lone sophomore.

Of the returning group, Eriksen had the most successful season a year ago as he placed seventh or better in six tournaments. He also recorded two runner-up finishes in 2013-14, by shooting 5-under-par at the Jackrabbit Invitational and 4-under at the Battle in the Tetons.

Richards might have had the strongest offseason of the group, as he recorded a runner-up finish of his own at the Utah State Amateur. The Wolverine senior fell 3-and-2 to the two-time State Am Champion Jon Wright.

Besides the seven returners, the sixth-year head coach Curran will also welcome in five newcomers to the fold this season, with four freshmen and a junior transfer. The four true freshmen are Blair Bursey (Newfoundland, Canada, Gander Collegiate), Ariel Elftman-Hanson (Wailuku, Hawai'i, H.P. Baldwin HS), Dalton Jackson (Nephi, Utah, Juab HS) and Cedric Laverdure (Quebec, Canada, College Jean-de-Brebeuf), while junior transfer Perry Wright rounds out the newcomer group (Long Beach, California, Sierra College).

The Wolverines get their 2014-15 season underway on Monday and Tuesday at the Battle of the Tetons in Victor, Idaho. A year ago, UVU took second at the tournament, finishing just five shots back of Wyoming. This year's opening-season tournament will once again be contested at the Headwaters Golf Club and be hosted by Weber State.

Following the Battle in the Tetons, UVU takes part at the Colorado State University Ram Masters on Sept. 15-16, at the Ft. Collins Country Club in Ft. Collins, Colorado. The Wolverines then head back to Colorado two weeks later for the Mark Simpson Colorado Invitational in Boulder (Sept. 29-30). UVU's lone fall tournament in Utah comes next as it heads to Park City for the Utah Invitational at the Jeremy Golf and Country Club on Oct. 6-7, before closing out the fall season in Hawai'i a month later at the Ka'anapali Collegiate Classic (Nov. 7-9).

The spring season begins Feb. 9-10 in St. George, Utah, as the Wolverines take part in the Southern Utah Pat Hick Invitational. The Snowman Getaway follows on Feb. 22-24 in Goodyear, Arizona, before UVU heads to Bandon, Oregon, for the esteemed Bandon Dunes Championship on March 13-15. Two more regular-season tournaments remain for the Wolverines — the Redhawk Invitational that will take place April 6-7 in University Place, Washington, and the El Macero Classic which will be contested in Davis, California on April 10-12.

The 2015 WAC Championship will then be held on April 20-22, at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, Arizona. UVU will be striving to win its first WAC crown and pick up its first berth to the NCAA Regional.

UVU men’s golf: 2014-15 season preview

Utah Valley men's golf coach Chris Curran talks about the upcoming 2014-15 season.

James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.