| 03.24.2018

Wind blows Idaho out of contention – Harsh conditions at the WAC Championship in Las Vegas hampers men’s golf to second place finish


What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, except for the WAC Championship trophy — that’s going back to Las Cruces, New Mexico, for the second year in a row.

Just like last week in Arizona at the women’s WAC Championships, the conference championship for men’s golf finished with New Mexico State atop the leaderboard, and Idaho right below it at second.

The Aggies dominated the 52nd annual WAC Men’s Golf Championship, and finished the tournament 10 stokes in front of the Vandals, with an 8-under-par 856. Idaho finished at 2-over-par 866.

NMSU didn’t dominate the entire tournament, though. After the first round, Idaho trailed by only two strokes.

“It was a good day for the Vandals,” coach John Means said of Idaho’s first round. “They played well. The conditions were not very difficult.”

Mother Nature made her presence felt during the second day, with winds reaching up to 25 miles per hour. The Vandals struggled with the conditions firing a 298, while NMSU thrived shooting 285, which gave them a 15-stroke cushion for round three.

“The wind showed up after about six holes,” Means said. “That changed the complexion of the championship. We struggled with the wind.”

Idaho made a late push on day three with a 294, but only gained 5 strokes on NMSU, which shot a 299 in the final round.

NMSU had players take the top two spots — senior Pat Beyhan and sophomore Kenneth Fadke.

Fadke, who won the tournament last year, finished second at 4-under-par 212. Beyhan won the individual title firing a 6-under-par 210.

In third place and only 4 strokes behind Beyhan was Idaho freshman Ryan Porch, who led the team with a 2-under-par 214.

The rest of the Vandals finished as follows: Jared du Toit finished eighth at 2-over-par 218, Aaron Cockerill tied for ninth at 3-over-par 219, Rylee Iacolucci tied for 12th at 4-over-par 220 and Sean McMullen tied for 20th at 9-over-par 225.

Idaho players didn’t leave Las Vegas empty handed, though. Du Toit was named WAC Freshman of the Year by a coaches’ vote. He and Cockerill also earned First Team All-WAC honors, and Iacolucci was the lone Vandal with Second Team All-WAC honors.

With Alex Pounds as the only senior, Idaho will return the core of its players for next season when it makes the jump to the Big Sky Conference.

Korbin McDonald can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu


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