Every time we’ve done well this year it’s been because we’ve had great play from our No. 4 or 5 players. While our top guys got a little sloppy that week, this championship was a total team effort. —Bruce Brockbank
Bruce Brockbank got BYU’s golf team back to the NCAA regionals just in time to be part of showtime.
The Cougars earned a berth in the regional round by winning the WCC golf championship in Bremerton, Washington, a week ago. It was the first conference golf title by the Cougars in seven years.
For the first time ever, college golf will have a major partnership with television for its championship, as the final event is slated to be broadcast by the Golf Channel.
Everything kicks off May 5 with the NCAA men’s golf selection show, where teams for each of the six regional sites will be announced.
Imagine, a golf selection show.
The Cougars will be sent to one of two sites in the West region, either San Antonio or Eugene, Oregon. We’ll all be informed of this by the folks on the Golf Channel’s “The Morning Drive Show,” which will be streamed live on GolfChannel.com that day at 8 a.m. MDT.
The Golf Channel will televise both the individual medalist championship and the match play team championship after regional tournaments qualify 30 teams.
Back to Brockbank.
A former Timpview High product who grew up playing the fairways at Riverside Country Club, this will be the seventh NCAA championship appearance by the Cougars under Brockbank.
His team conquered the WCC field on a course in Washington the Cougars play nearly every year. However, while his squad may have been very familiar with the fairways and greens, it has generally struggled to do well over the years at Bremerton.
The layout is tight with uneven lies. A bad swing or an error in judgement is an automatic double bogey. Still, the favored Cougars rose above the WCC field and at times should have ran away with it before settling for a four-stroke victory.
A week ago, Brockbank was named the WCC Coach of the Year after the Cougars won the title.
“Every time we’ve done well this year it’s been because we’ve had great play from our No. 4 or 5 players. While our top guys got a little sloppy that week, this championship was a total team effort,” he said. Justin Keiley and Jordan Rodgers stepped up, while No. 1 Cougar Joe Parkinson finished in a tie for 13th individually. Parkinson, a former Utah State Amateur champion before serving an LDS mission, was named the WCC Golfer of the Month twice this season.
This comes in a league dominated by West Coast, good-weather geography.
Brockbank dispels any illusion that being named coach of the year is anything he did. His team is ranked 34th and has been as high as 26th. He throws praise to his players and an assistant coach, the son of legendary Hall of Famer Johnny Miller.
“Obviously that honor comes from having great players and the recognition comes from that and I get credit for that, but coach Todd Miller does a great job with these guys and it's easy for me to say he is the coach of the year.
“It’s a two-way street and when the guys perform, it makes the coaches look good, but I can’t take the credit alone. Todd is very instrumental in the program’s success.”
The last time the Cougars won a conference title came in 2007 with a team led by Daniel Summerhays, Cole Ogden, Nick Becker, Jake Ellison and Robbie Fillmore at Tucson National.
The regionals will be May 13-14. If Brockbank’s team advances, the Division I championship will be May 27-June 1 at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas. BYU won the event in 1981 at the Stanford University Golf Course.
Dick Harmon, Deseret News sports columnist, can be found on Twitter as Harmonwrites and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.