CEDAR CITY, Utah, March 20 – Southern Utah University’s men’s golf team plays the fourth event of its 2013 spring season this week when the Thunderbirds compete at the University of Denver’s Desert Shootout.

The 16-team tournament will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the par-72, 7,015-yard Palm Valley Golf Course in Goodyear, Ariz., with 18 holes each day beginning with a 7:30 a.m. shotgun start.

The field for the event includes Southern Utah, Air Force, Baylor, Boise State, BYU, Colorado State, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska, New Mexico State, Tulsa, Wichita State, Wyoming and host Denver.

Juniors Jake Holt and Taylor Schone, sophomores Sammy Cole and Tim Leonard and freshman John Reid will compete for the Thunderbirds.

Southern Utah is coming off a fourth place finish at the Sacramento State Invitational.

Last Year at the Desert Shootout: SUU finished 14th at 874, one shot behind New Mexico State and 38 shots off the pace of team champion Wichita State. 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.

The Coach: Richard Church (Utah ‘89) is in his 13th season as head golf coach and his 17th 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 runners-up and the University’s first two NCAA post-season competitors in golf. He has also seen the team finish second in its respective leagues six times.

Last Time Out: Sammy Cole finished sixth and Southern Utah had three players among the top-12 as the Thunderbirds finished tied for fourth at the 14-team Sacramento State Invitational, which was played at the par-72, 7,036-yard Valley Hi Country Club in Elk Grove, Calif. Cole shot 70 in the final round to move up one spot with a 3-under par 213 finish, five shots behind UC Santa Barbara’s Glen Scher, who won the tournament at 208. Tim Leonard finished with his best round of the tournament, 68, to move up 29 spots into a tie for 12th place at 217 along with teammate Jake Holt, who finished with a round of even par. John Reid finished 47th at 226 after a final-round 77 while Connor Van Gilder was 64th at 231 shooting 78 in the final round. Southern Utah combined to shoot 287 in the last round to finish at 5-over par 869 and tied with Boise State, 16 shots off the pace of team champion UCSB.