Cougars Finish Ninth at NCAA Championship
HOT SPRINGS -- Amidst heavy rains, BYU finished ninth while sophomore Oscar Alvarez finished 17th individually at the 2004 NCAA Division I Golf Championship on Friday.
The Cougars earned their best NCAA finish since 1999, when they also finished in ninth at the NCAA Championship. This was BYU's 19th top 10 finish in NCAA Golf Championship history.
With the top four scores counting towards the final team score, the Cougars were hurt by having to count a 10-over-par 80 on the final day. BYU's top three scores came in strong, but with two golfers struggling on the final day, the Cougars were forced to count an 80 towards the team total moving BYU outside the top five teams. Early in the day, BYU was as high as third place, but on the back nine the fourth score continued to push BYU back in the pack.
"We had a good tournament and I'm pleased with being in the top 10, but it's a little frustrating knowing we could have easily finished in the top five," BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank said. "If we don't have to count an 80 we could have finished as high as third place, which would have been nice."
California came back from an eight-stroke difference to win its first national championship after UCLA went 13-over-par on the final day to fall back to second place. UNLV's Ryan Moore claimed individual honors, winning by six strokes at an incredible 13-under-par.
Oscar Alvarez led the Cougars throughout the tournament, finishing the fourth round with a two-over-par 72 and in 17th place overall at four-over-par. The Sophomore from Colombia earned his eighth-straight top-20 finish playing against the top collegiate golfers in the nation.
"Oscar played like a champ," Brockbank said. "He was big-time the whole tournament and probably played his way into an All-American citation."
Junior Todd Miller finished a solid tournament with a three-over-par 73 and tied for 30th place. Greg Machtaler ended the tournament with an impressive 70 (even par). The Junior from Canada was able to fight through the rain and shoot his best score of the tournament to finish in 44th place. Ron Harvey Jr. and Jake Ellison struggled on the final day and finished in 65th and 52nd place respectively.
"I think this tournament was a great learning experience and gave us a taste of what it takes to get back here next year," Brockbank said. "Hopefully the way we finished will fuel the fire to be a contender again next year."
With the ninth-place finish, BYU solidified its position as one of the top men's golf programs in the nation, and with the Cougars returning all of their top seven golfers next season, the future certainly looks bright for years to come.
2004 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS
1. California (+14) 279-289-287-279--1134
2. UCLA (+20) 289-283-275-293--1140
3. Arizona (+28) 292-281-283-292--1148
4. Texas (+29) 288-286-289-286--1149
5. Georgia Tech (+31) 289-285-287-290--1151
6. Florida (+32) 285-289-284-294--1152
6. Washington (+32) 289-282-285-296--1152
8. Kentucky (+35) 283-286-283-303--1155
9. Brigham Young (+36) 280-290-291-295--1156
10. Pepperdine (+40) 295-276-289-300--1160
11. Georgia (+41) 285-302-284-290--1161
11. Georgia State (+41) 292-280-297-292--1161
13. Oklahoma State (+44) 292-289-289-294--1164
14. Texas A&M (+47) 291-292-284-300--1167
15. Penn State (+50) 289-291-290-300--1170
BYU INDIVIDUAL SCORES
T17. Oscar Alvarez 70-72-70-72--284 (+4)
T30. Todd Miller 69-73-74-73--289 (+9)
T44. Greg Machtaler 74-75-75-70--294 (+14)
T52. Jake Ellison 70-72-72-82--296 (+16)
T65. Ron Harvey Jr. 71-73-76-80--300 (+20)
Full results at www.golfstat.com