This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Provo • Before Utah junior golf products Tony Finau, Daniel Summerhays and Zac Blair made it to the PGA Tour, they won the Utah State Amateur golf tournament, and Summerhays and Blair passed through BYU.
Naturally, after BYU junior Patrick Fishburn won the State Am last July at Alpine Country Club, folks began wondering if the 6-foot-4 Ogden native will be Utah's next PGA Tour regular.
So far, so good.
Fishburn is having a stellar third season for the Cougars in 2016-17, with nine top-10 finishes in 11 tournaments to his credit, including an individual title at the Pacific Invitational last fall. He recently tied for the third at the PING Cougar Classic, which BYU won.
"It has been a pretty good season, but not great," Fishburn said last week. "I definitely played better in the fall. My game hasn't come out of the winter that well, but it is heading in the right direction, so hopefully I can get it going in the next few tournaments."
The next tournament for both the BYU men's and women's golf teams is a big one, the West Coast Conference Championships. The Cougars are hosting the 54-hole WCC tournaments for the first time at nearby Riverside Country Club, their home course. Both the men and the women will play 18 holes each day, Thursday through Saturday, weather permitting.
"It definitely gives us a lot of confidence, playing here," Fishburn said. "I think we've got a pretty good shot of winning the conference championship."
Fishburn has his sights on men's medalist honors, although WCC golfers Pavan Sagoo of Saint Mary's and Blake Meek of LMU tied for the individual championship at the Cougar Classic, one shot ahead of Fishburn.
Junior C.J. Lee, sophomore Spencer Dunaway and freshmen Peter Kuest and Rhett Rasmussen will make up the remainder of BYU's five-player squad, coach Bruce Brockbank said after the group won the Cougar Classic by eight shots over LMU.
"We are excited about [hosting the WCC tournament]," Brockbank said. "I was hoping to get a little more momentum because they are going to need to play better than this to be successful at the conference tournament."
As for Fishburn, who was an all-state point guard in 2011 for Fremont, he plans to defend his State Am title at his home course, Ogden Golf & Country Club, this July before returning to BYU for his senior season next fall.
"I need to get my short game back [to contend this week]," he said. "I feel like I was a little sharper around the greens in the fall. I have to work hard on my short game and get that back for the rest of the year, and for the summer."
WCC women's tournament
Having won last year's WCC Tournament at Danville, Calif., to snap Pepperdine's 14-year championship win streak, BYU's women's golf team is in a good position to defend its title. Coach Carrie Roberts' Cougars practice at Riverside Country Club, but have never played in a college golf tournament at the scenic layout just northwest of campus.
"I feel good about the way we are playing, and obviously we will be comfortable on our home course," said Roberts, who believes this might be the best BYU team she's had in her seven-year tenure. "Last year we obviously had a really great team, but I have seem some goals [reached] out of these girls that have just blown me away. When these girls are playing well, for sure it is the best team I've coached."
The Cougars won two tournaments and were second in two last fall. This winter/spring, they've had four second-place finishes and one third-place finish and are ranked No. 27 by golfstat.com.
Senior Alexandra White and junior Kendra Dalton have played well lately. Seniors Brooklyn Hocker and Lauren Atkinson and sophomore Rose Huang round out the five-player team that will represent BYU this week.
"They are girls I want my daughter to be like," Roberts said of her team. "I look at them, on and off the course, their character and their work ethic and how they compete, and they are just a really special group."
2017 WCC golf championships
At Par-72 Riverside Country Club, Provo
Thursday: First round for men and women, 8 a..m.
Friday: Second round for men and women, 8 a.m.
Saturday: Third and final round for men and women, 8 a.m.