| 03.18.2018

Potential to move up leaderboard


Idaho gets solid play from all five starters on first day of Wyoming Cowboy Classic

Consistency was the key for the Idaho men’s golf team on the first day of the Wyoming Cowboy Classic Monday in Scottsdale, Arizona. Each one of Idaho’s starting five golfers shot even par or better to put the Vandals in fifth place out of 18 teams.

“I was happy with how we struck the ball for sure and the fact that everybody was so consistent,” Idaho coach John Means said. “There’s some low numbers that can be made out there if they get balls to drop.”

The competition wraps up Tuesday with the final round.

Idaho shot 14-under-par 562, which is three shots behind Gonzaga, four shots behind Colorado and McNeese State and six shots behind the leader, UC Davis.

Means said his team struck the ball well but struggled putting.

“The greens are Bermuda greens,” Means said. “Because they’re Bermuda greens, they putt differently than the greens that we have in Idaho, and they were missing a lot of short putts that they don’t normally miss. This team’s done a really good job at becoming good putters. I don’t know that anybody in the field really putted great, but we did not putt well. We missed a lot of three, four-foot putts that hit the hole and spun out. We could have been much, much lower.”

Means said his players are going to practice putting Tuesday morning before they start the final round.

“I’m going to try to show them how to read the greens a little bit better because it takes a special skill,” Means said. “Because their fundamentals are fine. If they can roll those putts in, we’ll be right there.”

For the Vandals, sophomore Jared du Toit is four strokes off the lead. He shot 4-under-par 140 and is tied for 10th. Senior Aaron Cockerill, junior Rylee Iacolucci and freshman Dan Sutton shot 3-under-par 141 and are tied for 16th. Sutton was named Big Sky Conference Men’s Golfer of the Week almost two weeks ago for his performance in Idaho’s last invitational.

Senior Sean McMullen shot even-par 144 and is tied for 46th and sophomore Ryan Porch, who is competing as an individual, shot 4-over-par 148 and is tied for 70th. McMullen is competing in an event for the first time since the fall season because of a knee injury he suffered a few months ago.

“They all can shoot in the 60s, and if they do that, then we’ll be competing for the tournament,” Means said.

Colorado’s David Oraee and UC Davis’ Mike Brockington hold the lead after the first day, firing 8-under-par 136.

Besides Idaho, two other Big Sky schools are representing the conference at the Wyoming Cowboy Classic. Weber State sits in eighth place with a 7-under-par 569 and Southern Utah is tied for 10th after posting a 2-under-par 574.

Garrett Cabeza can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu

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