SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Coming off a fall season that had its ups and downs, Santa Clara men's golf strives for more consistency when it tees off the spring portion of the schedule at the 18-team John A. Burns Intercollegiate, hosted by the University of Hawai'i on the 6,991-yard, par-72 Wailua Golf Course in Lihu'e, Kaua'i.
The Broncos closed the fall with a pair of top-10 finishes and carded a season-low team round of 284 at the Fighting Irish Golf Classic in October. Junior Hayden Shieh earned his second top-10 finish of the fall and the 11th of his career by placing ninth at that event.
Shieh led the team with a 72.33 stroke average playing all 12 rounds and was followed by Matt McCarty, who averaged 73.78 in nine rounds of three events.
"Matt's playing with a lot of confidence," head coach Rob Miller said of his freshman. "He will eventually be a good player. It's just a matter of how quickly he gets there."
Sophomores Michiel Eyre III, Charlie Watson and freshman Devrath Das also played in every round over the four fall events and will look to carry the experience into a successful spring. The Broncos are scheduled to play five tournaments this spring leading up to the WCC Championship on April 20.
The first of those events looks to be the most difficult with four teams in the top 25 of the most recent Golfstat.com rankings and 11 of the 18 teams among the top 100. Santa Clara enters with a ranking of 154.
"There is room for optimism, but this is a tough, tough tournament to start," Miller said. "For us to win we have to play out of our friggin minds."
And it could be more difficult with the winter rains playing havoc with the team's practice schedule. "We couldn't prepare properly with all the rain we had," Miller continued.
Competing against many of the best players and teams in the country means the Broncos will take any positives they can get from this event. "We'd like to carry over what we were able to accomplish in the fall, but that doesn't mean a top-5 finish," Miller explained. "A top-10 here would be good. That's a positive result and we can do it."
Miller's five-player team consists of three sophomores, a junior and a rookie, and the coach understands that youth leads to inconsistent play. "We're just trying to hold our own in this tournament and gain some positive momentum for the rest of the spring," he said.
"We need to be playing our best at the end of the year because we're so young," Miller said. "Our focus is on improving instead of our finishes at these tournaments."
The three-day event will consist of a single 18-hole round played each day beginning with a shotgun start at 10:30 a.m. PT. Live scoring is available at golfstat.com.
Name: John A. Burns Intercollegiate
Dates (Site): Wednesday-Friday, Feb. 15-17 (Lihu'e, Kaua'i)
Host: University of Hawai'i
Tournament Field (Rank): Arizona (77), Brigham Young (46), California (67), Grand Canyon (NE), Hawai'i (212), Hawai'i-Hilo, Kennesaw State (25), New Mexico (45), North Dakota State (200), Northern Colorado (127), Santa Clara (154), Texas A&M (18), UNLV (23), Utah (130), UTEP (56), Virginia (4), Washington (41), Washington State (98).
Details: A single 18-hole round will be played each day for a total of 54 holes. Each round will begin with a shotgun start at 10:30 a.m. PT.
Course: Wailua Golf Course
Yardage/Par: 6,991 yards-Par 72
Course Website: www.kauai.gov/golf
Live Scoring: www.Golfstatresults.com