Men's spring preview: Mountain West
Monday, January 20, 2014
During the month of January, Golfweek will preview the 2014 spring season for each conference. Check out all of the previews here.
Today, we look at the Mountain West:
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5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Top of the class: New Mexico
• Player to watch: Gavin Green, New Mexico. Green, who is the 12th-ranked player in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings, won twice during the fall, and his most impressive win came at the All-America Classic, where he came from behind to win.
• Freshman to watch:Ricky DeSantis, San Diego State. The Carlsbad, Calif., native finished second on the team with a scoring average of 72.78 and had three top-25 finishes after playing in all three events for the Aztecs.
• Conference championship: April 26-27, OMNI Tucson (Ariz.) National
• Past champions (since 2009): New Mexico (2013), San Diego State (2012-11), Colorado State (2010), TCU (2009)
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(Golfweek/Sagarin rank in parentheses)
- New Mexico (No. 14): The Lobos won twice during the fall season at the Gopher Invitational and at their own William H. Tucker Invitational. The team added two other fourth-place finishes at the Golfweek Conference Challenge and the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate. Junior Gavin Green tied for first at the William H. Tucker for the second year in a row and the Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic. Teammate Andrej Bevins also collected a victory this fall, where he tied for first at the Tucker.
- UNLV (No. 32): UNLV won its first and only tournament of the fall at the Carmel Cup in its four fall starts. The Cup is also a match-play tournament, where the team defeated Vanderbilt. Junior Kurt Kitayama led the team with a scoring average of 72.91, while he finished T-3 at the Carmel Cup and T-4 at the William H. Tucker. Sophomore Zane Thomas had the team's second lowest scoring average. Thomas finished second at the Carmel Cup and T-4 at the Tucker Invitational.
- San Diego State (No. 47): San Diego State's best finish during the fall was at the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational, where the Aztecs tied for seventh. Junior Xander Schauffele finished in the top 10 twice this fall, including a top-5 finish at the William H. Tucker Invitational. Sophomore Kevin Ko and senior Austin Kaiser also played all three tournaments in the fall.
- Colorado State (No. 97): The Rams finished second at their own Ram Masters Invitational and the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate. With just one senior on the team, Parker Edens, the team is very young. Junior Cameron Harrell tied for first at the Ram Masters Invitational and never finished worse than 16th in five fall tournaments. Edens has a scoring average of 72.93 through the fall and his best finish was T-6 at the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate.
- Nevada (No. 110): Four players – Nicholas Smits, Brian Knoll, Rhyne Jones and Ryan Mulvany – played all four tournaments for the Wolfpack in the fall. The team finished third at the Ram Masters Invitational for its best finish in the first half of the season. Knoll, a senior, and Smits, a junior, lead the team in scoring average. Knoll has the best individual finish of the fall, a T-4 showing at the Gene Miranda Falcon Invite.
- Air Force (No. 124): Due to the government shutdown, the team did not travel to its biggest tournament of the fall – the Brickyard Collegiate. The Falcons won their own Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational. Senior Kyle Westmoreland won the Falcon Invitational and then finished T-5 at the Colorado Invitational. He led the team with a 71.7 scoring average in 15 rounds played.
- San Jose State (No. 136): The Spartans finished third at the Price’s Give 'Em Five Invitational. Sophomore Cody Blick tied for first for his first collegiate win, at the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate. Before making the jump to the Mountain West, Blick became the second player in the Western Athletic Conference to be named player of the year and freshman of the year during his freshman season.
- Wyoming (No. 156): Won the Battle in the Tetons in its first tournament of the 2013-14 season. The team’s second-best finish came at the Gene Miranda Falcon Invite. Sophomore Kamrin Allen won his first collegiate tournament at the Battle in the Tetons.
- Fresno State (No. 166): The Bulldogs finished sixth at the St. Mary’s College Invitational. Sophomore Troix Tonkham placed sixth at the tournament, while junior Neil Bautista recorded his first top-20 finish, at the Pacific Invitational.
- Hawaii (No. 192): Finished ninth at the Bill Cullum Invitational for its best finish of the fall. Freshman Skye Inakoshi had his first top 10 of his collegiate career at the Bill Cullum Invitational with a T-6 finish.
- Utah State (No. 200): The Aggies finished second at its instate rival University of Utah's tournament, the Utah Invitational. Senior Tanner Higham and sophomore Seokwon Jeon both recorded victories this fall. Junior Grahm Schmaltz was the only other Aggie to play in all five tournaments.
- Boise State (No. 205): Won the Utah Invitational for its first team title since 2007. Freshman Ty Travis finished inside the top 25 in all five tournaments for the Broncos this fall, including a runner-up finish at the Utah Invitational and a fifth-place finish at the Dash Thomas Memorial.