UNLV completes last test before MWC tournament begins
It wasn’t a victory for the No. 4-ranked men’s golf team in the country, but UNLV’s constant level of consistency hasn’t changed this year, and didn’t change this weekend.
For the 20th time this year, the Rebels as a team finished in the top-5 in a tournament, placing fourth in the PING Cougar Classic at Riverside Country Club in Provo, Utah with a combined score of 4-under.
Kevin Penner posted the lowest score of the two-day, three-round classic for UNLV at 6-under shooting 72 in the first round and 69 in the final two. Blake Biddle posted a score of 1-under and Derek Ernst had the highest score of all Rebels at 6-over.
Host squad BYU won the tournament by posting a combined score of 14-under and posted a final round of 12-under. Mountain West Conference foe Colorado State came in second finishing five shots behind the Cougars at 9-under. BYU’s ‘B’ team finished in third at 5-under.
CSU’s Zahkai Brown posted the lowest overall score amongst all participants, finishing with a score of 11-under highlighted by a final-round score of a 7-under 65. BYU’s lowest scoring ‘B’ Team member, Mike Jurca, came in second at 8-under and BYU’s Zachary Blair was in third at 7-under.
Rounds 1 & 2
Jurca shot rounds of 70 and 69 to take the first-day lead at 5-under, a one-shot lead over Brown and Jeff Evans from Southern Utah.
Penner was the only UNLV player who shot under par going into the final round after shooting 3-under, highlighted by a second round of 69 with four birdies and only one bogey. Biddle shot 2-over after rounds of 72 and 74, and Ernst, Carl Johnson and Kurt Kitayama went into the final day at 4-over.
Arthur Kim, who’s not on the UNLV team but participated as an individual entry, shot 11-over after rounds of 78 and 77.
Brown pulled away from the rest of the field on the back nine, shooting 6-under including a stretch of four straight birdies from No. 12-15 and back-to-back birdies on 17 and 18 to close it out.
Penner converted on back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 to finish at his final score. Biddle had a chance to pull into a tie for seventh on 18 after making birdie from 15-17, but a bogey on 18 finished his tournament at 1-under.
Ernst’s struggles throughout the weekend were well-shown in the final round, where the 16th-ranked golfer in the country bogeyed the final three holes on the front nine.
With the regular season now at a close, the Rebels look to take on the bigger prize. UNLV now turns its attention towards the MWC championship, which takes place May 4-6 at Tucson National Golf Club in Tucson, Ariz.
Contact Danny Webster at [email protected]