Apr 112005
Authors: Jim Lawn


High winds and bad weather plagued all golfers in the field at the 33rd annual Arizona State Thunderbird Invitational this weekend in Phoenix.

Saturday's windstorm, coupled with the difficulty of the ASU Karsten Golf Course, proved to be quite an obstacle on all 15 teams' performances. Only two players in the 79-man field managed to break par, as UNLV's first-place, seven-over, 859 finish was the second highest the tournament's history.

The CSU men's team finished in a tie for seventh overall, firing a final-round 302 to match Oregon. The Rams were tied for fourth after match play on Friday afternoon, and they continued to fight through the inclement weather on Saturday.

"On Saturday, the weather made things much more difficult, and if not for our collective disappointing finish on the last three holes, we proved our merit against some of the better teams in the country," said senior John Hayes. "Hopefully this will give us the confidence and drive to play our best heading into the tournament at (Brigham Young) and the postseason."

Hayes had his best finish of the season with a tie for sixth place. Hayes carded a three-round 214 and fired a one-over 72 in the third and final round. Junior Nate Pettitt carded a three-round 220 to finish in a tie for 27th.

Sophomore Derrick Whiting finished in a tie for 34th after a six-over 77 in the final round of play. Junior Kevin McAlpine finished in a tie for 41st with a three-round 222, and sophomore Aaron Weston finished in a tie for 73rd.

The Rams will have a week off from competition before April 22-23, when they head to Provo, Utah, to compete in the 2005 Cougar Classic hosted by BYU. After that the Rams have their sights on the Mountain West Conference Championships in Sunriver, Ore.

"We have our work cut out for us. There are a lot of great teams and players in the MWC this year," Pettitt said. "Fortunately a few of our guys have an advantage in the fact that they have played the course last year."

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