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Provo • After the Cougars shot an 11-under-par total of 565 in the first two rounds of the PING Cougar Classic on Monday to take a one-shot lead over rival Utah, BYU men's golf coach Bruce Brockbank said he would find out what his team was made of on Tuesday.
Propelled by excellent play from all five players on the back nine at Riverside Country Club, BYU defended the title of its own tournament. The Cougars finished at 22-under-par 842 (lowest four scores count each day) and won by eight shots over West Coast Conference mate Loyola Marymount (850) and the Utes (852).
"They showed they got a lot of guts, and it was fun to see them turn it on those last seven holes," Brockbank said. "It started on 11 we made a bunch of pars on a tough hole, and then we started getting some momentum, and doggone it, these guys played great. Fun to see. As a coach who has watched them all year it is a treat to watch them be able to do this when you want it the most, and be able to get it done."
Santa Clara (855) and San Francisco (855) tied for fourth as WCC teams took four of the top five spots on the course that will hold next week's WCC men's and women's golf tournaments. Utah Valley placed eighth.
Pavan Sagoo of Saint Mary's birdied the first playoff hole to defeat LMU's Blake Meek after both golfers shot 7-under 209 in the 54-hole tournament. BYU's Spencer Dunaway and Patrick Fishburn, Santa Clara's Hayden Shieh and Matthew McCarty, Perry Cohen of Saint Mary's and San Francisco's Tim Widing finished in a six-way tie for third, a shot behind the leaders. Widing had Tuesday's low score, a 63.
Needing a birdie on No. 18 to get into the playoff, Fishburn missed a 20-footer. He opened the tournament with a 65, but a 75 Monday afternoon doomed his attempt to win medalist honors.
"I felt like I gave a lot of shots away between yesterday's round and today's round," said Fishburn, last July's State Amateur champion. "I am disappointed with my own personal finish, but it was really good to see the team play well. We had a lot of guys step up to help us get the victory."
Utah senior Gentry Hicks placed ninth and Ute freshman Jordan Costello tied for 10th after holding the overnight lead.
"I was following the leaderboard a little bit on my phone about halfway through, and there were three or four teams that were close, including Utah," Fishburn said. "We were just fortunate enough to pull it out at the end, so it was great."
Brockbank and Fishburn felt like familiarity with the layout aided the Cougars, especially on the back nine Tuesday.
"That's what you are hoping for, but that doesn't always happen in golf," Brockbank said. "But they did it today, so that's really a tribute to the guys and their effort and what they accomplished. I was hoping to get more momentum because they are going to need to play better than this to be successful next week at the conference tournament."
PING Cougar Classic
At Par-72 Riverside Country Club, Provo
842 • BYU (22-under-par)
850 • Loyola Marymount (14-under-par)
852 • University of Utah (12-under-par)
855 • Santa Clara (9-under-par)
855 • Saint Mary's (9-under-par)
861 • San Francisco (3-under-par)
864 • Alabama-Birmingham (even-par)
867 • Utah Valley (3-over-par)
874 • Boise State (10-over-par)
882 • Pacific (18-over-par)
906 • Westminster College (42-over-par)
209 • Pavan Sagoo, Saint Mary's (won playoff); Blake Meek, LMU
210 • Patrick Fishburn, BYU; Hayden Shieh, Santa Clara, Perry Cohen, Saint Mary's; Tim Widing, San Francisco, Spencer Dunaway, BYU; Matthew McCarty, Santa Clara.
211 • Gentry Hicks, Utah
212 • Jordan Costello, Utah; Taylor Eyster, UAB
213 • Blair Bursey, Utah Valley; Rhett Rasmussen, BYU; Nick Jan, LMU