March 12, 2014
BANDON, Ore. -- Making its fourth-ever appearance at the Bandon Dunes Championship, the Utah Valley University men's golf team came away with its highest finish at the renowned tournament on Tuesday, finishing in a tie for fourth place. Its previous best coming into the year was an eighth place finish in 2012.
As a team, UVU finished the three-day, 54-hole tournament with an 873 to tie with Colorado of the Pac-12. The Wolverines were only ten shots back of team champion Missouri (863), while only trailing UC Davis (865) and Washington (870) by eight and three strokes, respectively.
Played at the Pacific Dunes Course in the coastal city of Bandon, Ore., the Bandon Dunes Championship annually draws some of the best collegiate competition in the Northwest.
"This was a great week for us," said UVU head coach Chris Curran. "To finish tied for fourth in this field is big for our program and it shows that we can play with the big schools in our region. Conditions were tough again today and we really struggled on holes that went into the wind. But we again finished the round with several key birdies. This is a big confidence-builder going into our next tournament."
Four of Utah Valley's five golfers on the week finished in the top-25 on the individual leaderboard, led by Brayden Eriksen's tie for seventh place. The junior fired a final round 73 (+2) on Tuesday, helping him to climb two spots on the leaderboard from Monday's second round. He has now finished in the top-10 at five of eight tournaments this season.
"Brayden was steady all week," Curran said. "To finish top-10 in this tournament is huge. He didn't hit the ball great this week but found a way to get it in the hole."
Preston Richards also leapt a couple spots on the individual rankings on Tuesday, using a 73 to slide from 27th into a tie for 21st. Richards is joined in that slot by fellow Wolverine Michael Dart who carded his second consecutive 75 to grab his second top-25 finish of the year.
, who had entered the day tied for ninth, closed his time at the tournament in tie for 25th. He posted 77s in each of his final two rounds after posting a 67 in Sunday's opening round.
Rounding out UVU's team score, Corey Eccles shot a 74 on Tuesday to finish +13 and in a tie for 48th. The sophomore has finished outside the top-50 only twice this season.
The Wolverines are back in action next week at the Jackrabbit Invitational in Primm, Nev. Hosted by South Dakota State, the two-day tournament gets underway Monday, March 17 and is the penultimate competition to UVU's first-ever trip to the WAC Championships.