CEDAR CITY, Utah, March 27 - Southern Utah University's men's golf team plays its final warm-up before the Summit League Championships this week as the Thunderbirds compete at UC Santa Barbara's OGIO Santa Barbara Invitational.
The tournament is scheduled to be played at the par 72, 7,068-yard Sandpiper Golf Club in Santa Barbara, Calif., with two rounds scheduled for Monday and another for Tuesday.
Seniors Jeff Evans, and Brad Millard, sophomores Nic Booth and Jake Holt and freshman Sammy Cole are likely to compete for the Thunderbirds with senior Jordan Orth traveling and competing as an individual.
The field for the tournament includes SUU, Saint Mary's, Santa Clara, Seattle, Sacramento State, UC Riverside, Long Beach STate, Wyoming, British Columbia Loyola Marymount, Cal State Bakersfield, Cal State Northridge and host UC Santa Barbara.
Last Year At The Santa Barbara Invitational: Jeff Evans shot par 72 to move up one spot and finish seventh but the Thunderbirds slipped as a whole, firing a final-round 306 to finish in ninth place. Evans, who finished at 1-over par 217, was just five shots off the pace of Oregon's Daniel Miernicki and Jack Dukeminier, who tied for the individual championship at 4-under 212. Booth also finished among the leaders, in 15th-place at 5-over 221 after firing 77 on Tuesday. Oregon was the only team to finish below par, at 12-under 852,with UC Santa Barbara second at 879. SUU finished at 904, three shots behind Sacramento State and Long Beach State, two ahead of Cal State Fullerton, which finished 10th at 906, and 13-up on 11th-place Weber State, which finished at 917. Rounding out Southern Utah's entry, Jake Holt finished 47th at 231, Brad Millard was 62nd at 235 and Greg Kerber was 73rd at 237.
The Coach: Richard Church (Utah '89) is in his 12th season as head golf coach and his 16th on the staff at Southern Utah. Prior to taking over the program from former Coach John Evans, Church spent four seasons as the Thunderbirds' assistant coach. During his tenure on the SUU staff, Church has coached five academic all-Americans, one Mid-Continent Conference medalist, two Mid-Con runner-ups and the University's first NCAA post-season competitor in golf. He has also seen the team finish second in the league five times since SUU began competing in The Summit League (ne. Mid-Con) in 1997-98.
Last Time Out: SUU shot 291 on Saturday but New Mexico State shot 289, enabling the Aggies to move past the Thunderbirds and into 13th place in the final round at Denver's Desert Shootout. SUU finished 14th at 874, one shot behind NMSU and 38 shots off the pace of team champion Wichita State, which shot 272 to move past first- and second-round leader Brigham Young, which shot 290 on Saturday to finish at 838, two shots behind WSU. Nic Booth (71-73-74) and Brad Millard (74-72-72) led the way for the Thunderbirds, finishing tied for 38th at 2-over par 218. Jeff Evans (74-72-74) and Sammy Cole (76-73-71) were another two shots back tied for 48th at 220 while Jordan Orth (77-71-76) finished 72nd at 224.