CEDAR CITY, Utah, Sept. 5 – Southern Utah University’s men’s golf team plays the second event of its 2013 fall season at Air Force’s Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational on Sunday and Monday. The 45th annual tournament will be held at the 7,401-yard Eisenhower Golf Club-Blue Course, with 36 holes on Sunday and the final 18 on Monday.

Senior Jake Holt, juniors Nic Booth, Sammy Cole and Tim Leonard and freshman Jameson Keiley, will compete for the Thunderbirds with freshman Braxton Williams scheduled to compete as an individual.

The 16-team field includes SUU, Colorado, Colorado State, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico State, Northern Colorado, Southern Utah, UMKC, Utah, Utah State, UTEP, Weber State, Wichita State, Wyoming and the host Falcons’ varsity and JV teams.

SUU is coming off a third-place finish at Weber State’s Battle in the Tetons, where Jake Holt also finished third.

SUU finished 13th at Air Force last year.

Last Year At the Falcon Invitational: SUU shot its worst round of the tournament Monday to slip from eighth place and finish 13th at the 16-team tournament. Tim Leonard led SUU with a 23rd-place finish. After rounds of 296 and 289 on Monday the Thunderbirds ballooned to 309 Tuesday to slide five spots as three of the four players counting scores shot their worst round of the tournament. Leonard shot 76 on Tuesday after rounds of 71 and 73 Monday to finish at 3-over par 220, while John Reid followed Monday’s 74-71 with a 78 for a final score of 223 and a share of 41st and Jake Holt shot 81 after rounds of 71 and 76 for a three-round total of 228 and a 59th place finish.  Sammy Cole (80-73-77, 230) and Taylor Schone (80-72-78, 230) finished tied in 66th place for SUU’s final score. Southern Utah finished with a final tally of 30-over par 894.

The Coach: Richard Church (Utah ‘89) is in his 14th season as head golf coach and his 18th 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 seven times during his tenure as head or assistant coach, including last season when the ‘Birds finished second in their inaugural season in the America Sky Conference.

Last Time Out: Jake Holt shot 2-under par 214 to finish tied for third place and lead SUU to a third place finish at Weber State’s Battle of the Tetons. The tournament was held at the par 72, 7,373-yard Headwaters Golf Club at Teton Springs Resort. Holt followed Monday’s rounds of 74 and 69 with a round of 71 on Tuesday to move up one spot in the final standings, four shots off the pace of Wyoming’s Kamrin Allen and two behind Utah Valley’s Brayden Eriksen. SUU’s Nic Booth shot even par on Tuesday to finish all alone in 13th place at 2-over par 219 while two more Thunderbirds, Sammy Cole and Time Leonard finished in the top-20, in 14th and 19th, respectively. Cole had the team’s low round on Tuesday, 70, to come in at 4-over 220, while Leonard had a round of 73 for a total 221. Freshman Jameson Keiley rounded out SUU’s team entry in 29th place at 227 after an even-par round on Tuesday, while freshman Braxton Williams finished 48th at 242 after a round of 81 on Tuesday. As a team The Thunderbirds shot their best round on Tuesday, 285, but Wyoming had the low team score of the tournament, 277, to finish at 857, ahead of second place Utah Valley (862) and SUU (873). Utah State finished fourth at 880, followed by Weber State (885), South Dakota State  and Valparaiso (889) and Westminster (905).