SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Santa Clara University men's golf team is back in action this weekend at the picturesque Classic Club in Palm Desert, Calif. A massive 24-team field, which includes four teams ranked in GolfWeek's top 20 will be in attendance. The 54-hole event begins Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. (PT).
"It has been a little unusual preparing since we all know who is going to play," said Santa Clara head coach Rob Miller, who has just six players on the 2011-12 roster, something that has the Broncos ranked outside of the top 100 for the first time in recent memory.
"It is good and bad. It takes away the competitiveness of the qualifying process but it allows them the time to work on the things they need to in order to be better prepared at the time of competition," says Miller. "For instance, since they don't have to grind out a score in practice rounds, they can work on different shots that have been troubling them in competition. We are working on some other ways to keep the practice rounds competitive so overall it seems to be working out well."
There is little doubt that Miller has special talents in sophomores Bobby Monaco (Eugene, Ore./South Eugene) and Scott Lowe (Calgary, Alberta Canada/Edge School). Monaco carded 14 birdies and two eagles en route to a top 20 finish in Tucson on Jan. 31. Lowe, who qualified for a Canadian Tour event as an amateur this summer, figures to be challenging for tournament titles as well.
"For our next event I have been focused on tightening up my wedge game, working a lot on distance control," Lowe told SantaClaraBroncos.com in a recent interview. "I am also working hard on my putting and freeing up my stroke. It was nice to get a tournament under my belt so now I can really focus on sharpening my game up for the rest of the spring season."
The season heats up in March, with events at the University of San Diego's Invitational at the Farms Golf Club in Southern Calif. (March 12-13). A trip to compete in the University of Oregon's Duck Invitational in Eugene will follow (March 26-27).
"It is fun to watch (Bobby and Scott) grow and their confidence build," said Miller. "Honestly, we have enough talent at the top to compete for a win but we need all three, senior Ronnald Monaco, Bobby and Scott to play well at the same time. They need help from the freshmen that are starting to feel a little more comfortable but it has been a lot to ask them to contribute consistently. I think we have a good chance to compete for a win by the end of the season when the freshmen are at their peak."
Fourth Annual University of Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate
Dates (Site): Saturday and Sunday, February 25-26, 2012
Host: University of Wyoming (presented by Cleveland Golf)
Tournament Field (24 teams): Auburn (2), UNLV (12), Texas A&M (13), Kent State (18), Baylor (29), Arizona (38), SMU (40), Saint Mary's (41), San Francisco (48), Texas Tech (53), Iowa State (65), Colorado (66), Houston (72), Texas-Arlington (85), Denver (100), Hawaii (105), Idaho (109), Wyoming (138), Cal Poly (145), Southern Utah (163), Santa Clara (182), UC Riverside (183), Nebraska (188) and UTEP (204)
Details: Both days will begin with a 7:30 a.m. (Pacific Time) shotgun start. The field will play two rounds of 18 holes on Saturday and one final round of 18 holes on Sunday.
Course: Classic Club in Palm Desert, Calif.
(Host site of the PGA's Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in 2006, 2007 and 2008)
Yardage/Par: 7,305/Par 72
Course Website: Classicclubgolf.com
Course Number/Address: 760-601-3601
75200 Classic Club Blvd
Palm Desert, California 92211
Results: SantaClaraBroncos.com (following each round)
*Rankings by GolfWeek.com