It's going to take everything we've got to get this done. —BYU men's golf coach Bruce Brockbank
PROVO — BYU Cougar freshman golfer Peter Kuest got seriously good on Friday.
Kuest shot the best competitive round of his college career at Riverside Country Club, a 5-under par 67 to lead BYU to a five-shot lead after the second round of the West Coast Conference Championships.
Kuest once shot a 6-under 66 in a team qualifying round, but in tournament play this was Kuest’s best round on the school’s home course. The effort tied Kuest with Santa Clara’s Hayden Shieh at 7-under for individual honors. Kuest’s long-hitting teammate Patrick Fishburn is two shots back after firing a 1-under 71.
It was cold, windy, cloudy and nothing like the weather in the Cougar Classic earlier this month. But Kuest, from Fresno’s Clovis West High, delivered, setting up a final-round showdown with Pepperdine, whose team had the best effort of the day at 10-under par.
“I really didn’t think about the weather too much, I just went along and tried to hit the best shots I could. The elements are the same for everybody,” said Kuest, whose parents followed every stroke the entire round.
“I hit 18 greens and most of the fairways and pretty much everything was working for me today.”
Kuest had six birdies and one bogey. On the par-4 14th, he hit a 38-yard approach shot that hit the flag and almost jarred out. His longest putt of the day was a 12-footer for birdie on No. 4. He had a three-footer on No. 16 for birdie.
As good as Kuest was Friday, BYU’s men and women showed consistent scoring depth and that propelled both squads to leads heading into Saturday’s final round of the 54-hole championship affair.
“That was a good round from Pepperdine today and we knew they would come and do that,” said BYU men’s coach Bruce Brockbank. “We had a lot of solid play from everyone today and that was a heck of an effort by the freshman. It was awesome and he kept us in there.
“This will be a shootout and we need to come out and play our best golf to win this thing,”
BYU’s Rose Huang, the league’s women’s Player of the Year, had a roller-coaster round. Still, her 1-under par 71, saddled alongside a solid team effort, propelled the Cougar women from five shots down to Pepperdine to a three-shot lead at 8-over-par.
Huang made birdies on the first two holes of the day and then added two others to go 4-under par and take control of individual women honors. Then she bogeyed the first two holes on her second nine to finish with a 1-under-par round, even for the tournament, one shot back of Pepperdine’s Hira Naveed.
In Rose’s first nine, she one-putted every green.
“My putting was on fire. I was in birdie-possible range on every hole," said Huang.
When she got to her ninth hole, the par-4 No. 18, her approach shot hit three feet in front of the center flag, bounced three times and rolled off the back of the green. Her chip rolled past the hole to the front fringe, leaving her an 18-footer for par. She nailed it.
“That green was so firm and I hit it from the rough,” said Huang. “My chip was a bad angle from the rough. My second nine was completely different. I was hitting wedges into the greens but it was just sloppy. My wedges were off the whole time.”
Huang and Naveed lead the championship in birdies with seven. BYU’s Kendra Dalton leads the field in pars made with 29.
On the men’s side, St. Mary’s Pavan Sagoo, who won medalist honors at the Cougar Classic at Riverside, leads the field in pars with 29. Gonzaga’s Angus Montgomery’s 11 birdies are best while in eagles BYU’s Patrick Fishburn, Roy Cootes of Pepperdine and Dalton Hankamer of San Diego are tied with one each.
“It’s going to take everything we’ve got to get this done,” said Brockbank. “We’re excited. Today we were six or seven under right off the bat. Then we kind of hung in there. They had some great hole locations and when the wind came up, it was tough.”