Men’s Golf Preview
Brad Curnow | Sports Writer | @JoJoCornrow
Photos courtesy of UVU Athletics
The Utah Valley University Men’s golf team enters the 2015 season looking to move up the conference leaderboards after finishing fourth at the Western Athletic Conference Tournament in Litchfield Park, AZ last April.
The team has been depleted in the offseason with five golfers departing and no new additions. The UVU men have a young roster with Perry Wright as the lone senior returning to the team. The team will be led by returning junior all-WAC-second teamer, JT Timmons. As a sophomore, Timmons played in all 11 matches for the Wolverines ‘ and tallied four top-10 finishes, including a ninth place finish at the WAC Championship Tournament.
“We lost five seniors last season and some would say we have a very young team,” Head Coach Chris Curran said. “I look at it that, yes, Perry is our only returning senior…but really all seven guys on our roster have tournament experience and have played some collegiate golf. I think we have more experience than what’s on paper.”
Redshirt junior Corey Eccles brings a veteran presence to the Wolverines, having played in 20 of 21 tournaments over his career. Eccles shot a career best even par at the Battle of the Tetons for a top-10 finish to start the 2014-15 season. Sophomore Blair Bursey had a strong finish to his freshman season with a top-10 finish at the PING Cougar Classic last April.
The Wolverines open the season September 21st and 22nd with the Colorado State Ram Masters Invitational at the Fort Collins Country Club in Fort Collins, CO, where in 2014 they finished sixth of 15 teams.
The Utah Valley men will have the privilege of being hosted by variety of opponents as they play way their way through Utah, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington. They will attempt to knock off Pac-12 host Washington State University when they travel to Palouse Ridge in Pullman, WA for the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate Invitational.
It is good competition that the Wolverines will face throughout the season and Curran knows there are tournaments the Wolverines can win and also tournaments where they will see some of the best competition in the nation.
“Our schedule is made up of tournaments that we will have a good chance to go win,” Curran said. “Then there’s also some tournaments where we are going to see quite a few Top-25 teams.”
The Wolverines will face in-state opponent, University of Utah, at the Utah Invitational. They will face another in-state opponent, Southern Utah University at the Pat Hicks Thunderbird Invitational in St. George.
The UVU golfers have the talent to finish well in tournaments, but Curran knows there will be some growing pains as they try to put together a string of big wins and make a run at the WAC Championship.
“You can always have one of your top guys fall into a funk,” Curran said. “And just trying to keep everyone consistent for the entire year with us having a fall season and a spring season, we play both seasons and have a gap right in the middle of the season, that’s always tough to have guys be consistent in an eight month season.”
The Wolverines wrap up the fall schedule with the Pacific Invitational Halloween weekend in Stockton, CA, and then pick things back up in the spring with the Pat Hicks Invitational in February. In April the Utah Valley men will have the opportunity to play at the Redhawk Invitational in University Place, WA at this year’s site of the U.S. Open, Chambers Bay. The Wolverines will close their season by attempting to dethrone the defending conference champs, the New Mexico State Aggies, at the WAC Championship. This season’s WAC Championship will be held at Loomis Trail in Blaine, WA from April 30 to May 2.
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