Before posing for pictures with their Cougar Classic championship trophy, the players and coaches for the BYU golf team weren't doing any cartwheels. They weren't jumping up and down in a circle with their arms around each other like a lot of winning basketball teams do these days. They didn't take coach Bruce Brockbank and throw him in the pond by the No. 9 green.
Actually it wouldn't have been too surprising if the Cougars had celebrated a little more than they did because, after all, it had been a long time since they won their own golf tournament.Six years to be exact.
Since 1992, UNLV, Utah State, New Mexico, Stanford and UTEP had all marched onto BYU's home turf at Riverside Country Club and left with the Cougar Classic trophy. The Cougars won the tournament 26 of the previous 30 years, including an incredible streak of 20 straight titles, before going five years without a home victory.
That changed Wednesday when BYU reclaimed its title with a four-stroke victory over Kansas and Utah Valley State College with a three-day total of 858.
"It's been five years now, and it's nice to get a win - finally," said Brock-bank, who has won a WAC title and taken his team to the NCAA championships but had never won a Cougar Classic until Wednesday.
"It's fun to win, and I'm happy for the team and coach Brock-bank," said Michael Henderson, who was the low BYU scorer in the tourney at 215, good for a tie for eighth place. Others on the well-balanced winning Cougar team were Andy Miller and Billy Harvey, who finished at 217, Jay Auvigne and Jesse Hibler at 218 and Jose Garrido at 219.
Colorado State's Tom Richardson captured individual honors by winning a sudden-death playoff with Utah Valley State College's Ryan Ellis after both players finished at 5-under-par 211.
For Richardson, it was his first collegiate victory in what may be his second-to-last college tournament. Richardson sneaked up on the field after starting the day in a tie for eighth place, five strokes off the lead.
"I tried to keep it simple, and I played pretty consistent," said Richardson, who didn't have a single bogey on the day in getting 14 pars and four birdies.
After birdieing the first hole and chipping in at No. 8, Richardson hung on by getting up and down for par on six straight holes before making another birdie at No. 15. An 8-footer at No. 17 was enough to earn him a tie for first, and he won on the first playoff hole with another par as Ellis hit a poor drive and bogeyed.
Ellis was the biggest surprise of the tourney with rounds of 70, 71 and 70. He was recruited out of Alta High School just last year, yet beat out all the other local players.
"I'm happy with the way I played," said Ellis. "I was just trying to have fun and enjoy it."
USU's Todd Tanner, who led after 36 holes, ran into trouble on his back nine and fell to a tie for third with Brad Davis of Kansas at 213 after shooting a 75.
Tanner was cruising along at even-par for the day when he hit his drive at No. 4 (his 13th hole) into the trees and made double bogey. He also had bogeys at Nos. 6 and 9.
Weber State, under first-year coach Greg Stimpson, was fifth at 875, led by freshman J.R. Shears, whose 66 Wednesday was the best score of the tournament.
Utah State finished 10th, Southern Utah was 12th, while Utah finished dead last in 16th. Utah Valley's tie for second was remarkable, considering it is a junior college with local players largely overlooked by the state's five major colleges.
"The little guy wants to beat the big guy, and we didn't let the big colleges intimindate us," said UVSC coach Steve Borget.