CEDAR CITY, Utah, Feb. 18 – Southern Utah University’s men’s golf team plays its second event of the spring this weekend when the Thunderbirds compete at Wyoming’s Cowboy Desert Intercollegiate in Palm Desert, Calif.

The three-day, 54-hole tournament will be held at the par 72, 7,305-yard Classic Club. The tournament runs Friday through Sunday, with 18 holes scheduled for each day.

Senior Jake Holt, juniors Nic Booth, Sammy Cole and Tim Leonard and freshman Jameson Keiley are scheduled to compete for the Thunderbirds.

The 23-team field includes  Southern Utah, Cal Poly, Iowa State, George Mason, Texas Tech, Colorado, TCU, UC Riverside, Kansas, Idaho, Nebraska, Arkansas-Little Rock, Kansas State, Oregon State, Denver, Santa Clara,UC Santa Barbara, Oregon, UT Arlington, Louisana-Monroe, Loyola Marymount, San Francisco and host Wyoming.

SUU opened the spring season last week at its own Pat Hicks Thunderbird Invitational where the T-Birds placed sixth. Sammy Cole was SUU’s top finisher, in third place.

Last Year At the Desert Intercollegiate: Sammy Cole shot four-over par 220 to lead Southern Utah to a ninth-place finish at Wyoming’s 17-team Desert Intercollegiate. SUU finished at 38-over par 902, five shots better than 10th-place Arkansas-Little Rock but well off the pace of tourney champ TCU, which ran away with the team title at 8-under par 845, 25 shots better than second-place St. Mary’s. Cole finished at 4-over par 220 in three rounds over the par 72, 7,061-yard Classic Club course to place 22nd. Jake Holt  and Tim Leonard finished at 11-over par 227 and in 48th place, while Taylor Schone had shot 232 for 62nd place and John Reid was 79th at 236. Brady Welburn finished tied for 95th at 243 as an individual.

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: Three Thunderbirds finished in the top-20, led by Sammy Cole’s third-place finish, but SUU slipped two spots on the final day to finish sixth at its Pat Hicks Thunderbird Invitational. Cole shot 4-under par 140 while Jake Holt was 10th at 1-under 143 and Nic Booth finished 19th at 147. Tim Leonard finished 51st at 156, with Taylor Schone, who was playing in his first tournament of the season, finished 58th at 162. Braxton Williams and Jameson Keiley, who were competing as individuals, finished 57th (159) and 60th (165), respectively. SUU shot 586 to finish 13 shots off the pace of team champion Seattle and two shots behind Utah State and Utah Valley.