Sutton’s driver breaks, Vandals still in first after first day of Big Sky Championships
So far, so good. The Idaho men’s golf team is off to a solid start in the Big Sky Conference Championship as the team sits in first place as a team with senior Aaron Cockerill tied for first individually.
The Vandals shot a 7-over-par 295 and Cockerill shot an even-par 72 in the first round Monday in Angels Camp, California.
Idaho has a two-stroke lead over second-place Sacramento State and a seven-stroke lead over third-place Weber State.
The championship continues Tuesday with the second round and ends Wednesday with the third round.
“Actually, we didn’t play very well today,” Idaho coach John Means said. “I’m a little disappointed in what we had done. Course management was not good.”
Means said Idaho started well, but he thinks his team got a little overconfident.
“They started hitting shots and pins that got them in a bad position to putt and we got quite a few three-putts,” Means said. “It was not characteristic in how we’ve been playing … We got a couple stroke lead, but it should have been a lot better.”
Cockerill and Sacramento State’s Riley Hayfield, the two leaders, are the only golfers who didn’t shoot over par in the first round.
“He played very well,” Means said of Cockerill. “I was very proud of him with the way he handled himself today.”
What may be even more impressive than Idaho’s play as a team and Cockerill’s individual play was the way Idaho freshman Dan Sutton played, considering the circumstances. Sutton enters the second round tied for third after shooting a 1-over-par 73.
While the other four Idaho golfers successfully received their golf bags in California, the airline lost Sutton’s golf bag Saturday. Means said he received a phone call early Sunday morning saying Sutton’s bag was in Phoenix.
More trouble followed, but his bag eventually arrived in Oakland, California. Means said a taxi driver was supposed to deliver the clubs to the team’s location by 6 p.m. Sunday night.
Instead, Sutton’s bag arrived around 9:30 p.m. Not only was the bag late, but Sutton discovered his driver was snapped in half, Means said.
Sutton had no functioning driver heading into the championship Monday and he didn’t participate in the team’s practice round Sunday because he didn’t have golf clubs.
Means said Sutton picked out a driver in the pro shop Monday morning.
Sutton was a little inconsistent in the first round, Means said.
“I mean, he was all over the map, but the fact that he just was ready to play for being a freshman, it was impressive,” Means said. “If that would have happened to anybody else, it would have been a little more difficult. It was really cool to see. I mean the team was concerned that he wasn’t going to be able to play in the tournament because he didn’t have any clubs, and there’s no clubs here at the golf course that were anywhere close to the kind of clubs he has.”
Sophomore Jared du Toit, Southern Utah’s Nic Booth and Weber State’s Devon Purser are also tied for third with Sutton. Junior Rylee Iacolucci is tied for 16th, with four other players after shooting 5-over-par 77 and sophomore Ryan Porch is tied for 30th with four other golfers after carding a 10-over-par 82.
The Vandals have experience with this course this year as they practiced on it one day during spring break.
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at email@example.com