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Utes, Dunkle Win Titles at Showdown in the Rockies
By Mady White, Student Assistant for the University of Utah Athletics Communications
DRIGGS, Idaho – The Utah men's golf team had a big day in route to their team title at the Utes' inaugural event, the Showdown in the Rockies, shooting 14-under par (274) on Tuesday to close out the tournament at the Huntsman Springs Golf Course in Driggs, Idaho.
Utah finished the event with a two-day score of 22-under par (279-289-274=842). Utah's team score of 274 in the final round is the lowest since the Utes posted a first-round score of 274 back at the Wolfpack Classic in 2003.
“We are extremely thrilled about how the day went today,” said head coach Garrett Clegg. “It was pretty amazing play from our boys today. We had an absolutely incredible back nine. When we were through the front nine we were 8-under par and Oregon State was 10-under par. On the back nine, we played back nine 14-under par to finish at 22-under par and win the event.”
“This was a really strong field,” Clegg continued. “Five of the teams that were in this field were playing at NCAA Regionals last year and so to come out here and win this tournament means a lot for us. It was a great win for us and a huge confidence builder for the team moving forward.”
Along with the team title, the Utes are also leaving Idaho with the individual title earned by the Utes' lone senior Kyler Dunkle. Dunkle notched his third straight round under par to finish Tuesday's final 18 holes at 5-under par (67) and win the event with a combined score of 13-under par (66-70-67=203).
Dunkle led the 60-player field in birdies, totaling 20 over the 54-holes of action. Dunkle closed out Tuesday's final round going 5-under on the final nine holes to edge Arizona's David Laskin (-11) for the individual title and pick up his second career first place finish after winning the title at the Mark Simpson Collegiate last September.
“Kyler was just amazing this week,” Clegg stated. “His first-round score of 66 tied the course record at Huntsman Springs. He just had incredible play from start to finish.”
Junior Jordan Costello also had a big day for the Utes as he went 4-under par (68) to crack into the top-10 of the event, finishing in a tie for ninth place at 2-under par (68-78-68=214). Sophmore Blake Tomlinson recorded a top-20 finish as well, placing in a tie for 17th place with a combined score of 2-over par (70-70-78=218).
Freshman Axel Einarsson closed out the event shooting 1-under par (71) in the final round to finish in a tie for 28th place at 4-over par (75-74-71=220). After struggling in the first two rounds, junior Tristan Mandur had a great final round after shooting 4-under par (68) to close out the event. Mandur finished in a tie for 35th place with a score of 7-over par (80-75-68=223).
“Jordan had a top-10 finish and was huge for us today. Tristan really struggled his opening 36 holes but his final round was exceptional and really helped our team today. Axel battled and battled. He never truly felt like he was playing great but he hung in there and plowed out a 71 for us today,” Clegg said.
Utah finished the Showdown in the Rockies leading the 10-team field in par 4 and par 5 scoring averages. Utah averaged a score of 4.08 strokes on par 4's, while notching an average of 4.58 strokes on par 5's. The Utes also led the field with 70 total birdies.
Utah also had four student-athletes compete at the event as individuals. Junior Mitchell Schow had strong first outing on the year, finishing in a tie for 21st overall. Schow shot a final round of 1-under par (71) to finish with a score of 3-over par (74-74-71=219).
Junior Peyton Hastings finished in 44th place with a score of 11-over par (81-73-73=227) following his final round of 1-over par (73). Freshman Jonathan Wijono finished tied for 56th place with a score of 19-over par (79-76-80=235), while redshirt freshman Colton Tanner finished in 59th place at 32-over par (81-82-85=248) to round out the Utes.
Utah will return to the Mark Simpson Collegiate next Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 24-25, to defend their team and individual titles earned last September. The Utes will compete in the two-day event at the Colorado National Golf Club in Erie, Colo.