TUCSON, Ariz. -- The 19th-ranked BYU Cougars jumped out to a two stroke lead after 32 holes before play was suspended due to darkness at the PING Arizona Intercollegiate on Monday at Arizona National Golf Club at Sabino Springs.
BYU showed no signs of a winter layoff as it battled cold Tucson weather to start the spring golf season with impressive fashion. The Cougars shot four-under as a team in the first round and were four-under-par during the second round before play was suspended with four holes to play. They lead second-place Tulsa by two strokes and third-place Arizona by eight strokes. Mountain West rival New Mexico, ranked No. 4 in the nation is 12 strokes behind the Cougars, while 15th-ranked Arizona State is seventeen strokes back with 22 holes left to play on Tuesday.
'All of our guys came to play today,' BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank said. 'They are playing smart and tough, and they just looked refreshed and prepared today. It's fun to watch how they are handling this course.'
Senior Todd Miller led the way for BYU finishing the day at three-under-par and in third place. Miller, an honorable mention All-American in 2004 who struggled much of the fall season, returned to form with an opening-round 68.
'It's neat to see Todd (Miller) playing well again,' Brockbank said. 'In fact, it's great to see all our guys start out so well. This is a real determined group.'
Senior Greg Machtaler and sophomore Jake Ellison finished the day one stroke behind Miller tied at two-under and in sixth place. Four Cougars finished in the top 12 as junior Oscar Alvarez finished the day even par thanks to an eagle and a birdie on his last two holes. Alvarez, one of BYU's three All-Americans, is tied for 12th place. Nick Becker, a sophomore from Boise, Idaho who is playing in his first tournament since returning from an LDS Church mission, sits in 34th place at three-over-par. Becker was one-under par in the second round before play was suspended.
'We're playing real solid as a team and we're feeling good about the result,' Machtaler said. 'I'm hoping we can keep it going tomorrow and bring home a win.'
The Cougars will have 22 holes remaining tomorrow and a chance to collect their third tournament victory of the season in six tries. Follow the Cougars live on the web at www.golfstat.com. Live scoring is available for the PING Arizona Intercollegiate.
Arizona National Par 71 - 6,793 yard
1. BYU -8
2. Tulsa -6
3. Arizona (B) E
3. Arizona E
5. New Mexico +4
6. Texas A& M +5
7. Arizona St. +9
8. UC Riverside +11
9. New Mexico St. +14
9. Fresno State +14
11. UC-Irvine +15
12. UTEP +23
12. Cal +23
14. Colorado +25
15. Oregon +27
16. Long Beach St.+31
Teams thru 32 holes (Play suspended due to darkness)