The CSU men’s golf team is set to tee off at the Mountain West Conference championship in Tucson, Arizona, early this morning.
The five student-athletes representing CSU are paired with Utah and BYU in the tournament’s second groupings.
CSU coach Jamie Bermel said his team has the ability to take the tournament but wouldn’t be surprised if they finished as low as sixth in the nine-team conference.
“I think we are capable of winning,” he said. “We need to play solid, not up and down, and we can’t make any mistakes. We have been solid at times, but we have also had struggles. That is a little more inconsistent than I like.”
Zen Brown, a junior, agreed, but is confident the Rams will shoot low scores.
“I think our team is prepared,” he said. “We are going to do well.”
Three of the Rams may have a slight advantage going into the tournament. Brown, Bryce Hanstad and Dustin Morris have all previously played the Catalina Course at Tucson National, a par-71, 7,136-yard course where the tournament is being held. The trio played well enough to earn a fourth place finish at a tournament there last season.
Brown said that the familiar turf might help his game a little, but he still needs to play well to finish where he wants.
“It may give us a little bit of an advantage,” said Brown, who finished 12th at last year’s conference tournament. “The course is right in front of you and with a good thought process, we can all do good.”
Brown, who was selected to the all-conference team last semester, added that the course in prime condition for driving the ball, which should favor CSU.
Even though the Rams earned an invitation to the regional tournament last year, Bermel said that he isn’t looking ahead that far and that his focus is completely on the conference tournament.
“We need to play well this week,” he said. “If we don’t, then we’re not even going to make it to regionals. My focus is here and now.”
Brown said the Rams have been working to get to this point the entire season.
CSU enjoyed a successful regular season, finishing in the top 10 eight times, including first-place finishes at two tournaments.
“We have been getting better as the season has gone on,” Brown said. “We played well last tournament and that set us up for this one. We are in a good position.”
Sports reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org