The Cougar Classic will be held at the par-72, 7,142-yard Riverside Country Club, with 36 holes on Friday and 18 on Saturday, while the American Sky tourney will feature 18 holes per day Monday through Wednesday at the par 72, 6,937-yard Dominion Country Club.
Southern Utah hasn’t competed since tying for fourth with Wichita State at the University of Denver’s Desert Shootout on March 23.
The field for the nine-team Cougar Classic includes Southern Utah, Air Force Academy, Boise State, Colorado State, St. Mary’s, Utah State, Weber State, Wyoming and host Brigham Young.
The field for the 11-team American Sky championship will include SUU, Binghamton, Cal State Bakersfield, Chicago State, Hartford, Houston Baptist, Northern Colorado, North Dakota, Sacramento State, Texas-Pan American, Utah Valley and Weber State.
Juniors Jake Holt and Taylor Schone, sophomores Sammy Cole and Tim Leonard and freshman John Reid will compete for the Thunderbirds, while freshmen Brady Welburn and Connor Van Gilder will compete as individuals at BYU, with Holt, Schone, Cole, Leonard and Reid slated to compete and the American Sky tourney.
This will be SUU’s first appearance at the American Sky Championship. The Thunderbirds tied for first place at the Summit League Championship last year only to lose in a playoff.
Last Year at the Cougar Classic: Jeff Evans shot a final-round 1-under par 71 to post a fifth-place individual finish and lead Southern Utah to a fifth-place team finish. After a Saturday round of 287 the Thunderbirds finished at 11-over par 875, 25 shots off the pace of host BYU, which edged Colorado State (855). BYU’s B team finished third at 859 while UNLV was fourth at 860. Evans began the day in a tie for second but BYU’s Zachary Blair shot 68 and UNLV’s Kevin Penner shot 69 to move past him while CSU’s Zahkai Brown – who was tied with Evans heading into the day – shot a final-round 65 to move to the top of the leaderboard and claim the individual title. SUU’s Nic Booth and Sammy Cole finished tied for 28th at 7-over par 223, while Jake Holt was 42nd at 225 and Brad Millard finished 47th at 230. SUU’s Jordan Orth, competing as an individual, came in 50th at 236. SUU finished four strokes ahead of Air Force and Boise State, which checked in at 879, while Wyoming was eighth at 887 and Utah State finished ninth at 898.
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: John Reid and Tim Leonard finished tied for 12th place to lead SUU to a fourth-place finish at the Desert Shootout. SUU fired its two lowest team rounds of the year, with a 280 on Thursday and a 284 in Saturday’s final round. The Thunderbirds finished in a tie with Wichita State in fourth in the final standings. Leonard fired the second-best final round, 67, to shoot up the leaderboard from 50th to 12th and into a tie with Reid and two other playersat even-par 213. SUU had four players in the top third of the field as Jake Holt finished in 23rd place at 215 while Sammy Cole was 33rd at 217. Taylor Schone finished 90th at 230, while SUU’s Brady Welburn, who competed as an individual, finished 71st at 224. As a team SUU finished at 858, 20 shots off the pace of champion BYU, which won the event at 838.