In its first competition since October, the Idaho men’s golf team finished eighth overall in the Pat Hicks Thunderbird Invite at St. Georges, Utah Feb. 11-12
Sophomore Sean McMullen, the highest Idaho finisher, tied for sixth with a final score of 145. This put him just three strokes back from winners Tanner Higham of Utah State, Zach Munroe of the College of Charleston and Camden Price of Cal Poly. McMullen shot a 72 in the opening round and closed the tournament with a 74 the following day. He finished one over par.
Coach John Means said McMullen is still trying to shake off the rust from the long winter break. McMullen ended the fall season with a successful performance at the Price’s Give ‘Em Five Invitational, where he shot an even-par.
“If this was the end of last fall, he would have won,” Means said.
Means said McMullen, as well as the rest of the team, hit the ball well but struggled with his putting as he tried to adjust to the speed of the course.
“He had a lot of chances to make birdies, he just didn’t make them,” Means said.
Sophomore Aaron Cockerill tied for 17th overall after shooting a 75 the opening round, then following it with a 73 for a final score of 148. Senior Gordon Webb shot a 153, which earned him a tie for 46th. His lowest score, 76, occurred in the opening round. He followed that with a 77. Freshman Dylan Baker and sophomore Zach Wanderscheid both tied for 59th with a score 155.
Cal Poly finished first in the field of 15 schools on the 36-hole, par-72 course. The Mustangs ended the tournament with a 584. They were followed by the College of Charleston and Dixie State (Utah).
Idaho collectively shot a 301 in the opening round to put them in seventh place. The Vandals fell one spot the following day, despite improving their opening round score by four strokes. Their second round total of 297 gave them a total of 598.
Coach Means said he was not concerned about the results of this tournament, referring to it as “a warm-up kind of tournament” for the Wyoming Cowboy Desert Classic, which will be held at The Classic Club in Palm Desert California on Feb. 22-24. It will feature No. 13 Texas Christian University and No. 38 Texas Tech.
“We scheduled this tour because of the tournament next week,” Means said.
Idaho will look to mimic the success it had in the fall tournaments. The Vandals placed second at the Jim Colbert Intercollegiate at Colbert Hills in early October and followed that with a win at the Price’s Give ‘Em Five Invitational, with Webb winning the individual title.
Anthony Kuipers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org