GOLF: Tops corral 16th place finish

Jason Stamm

In its last test before postseason, the Hilltopper golf team hit the links in the Arizona desert, finishing 16th in the Cowboy Classic Tuesday.

Western finished with a final tally of 878 in the 54-hole tournament. Leading the Toppers’ push were senior Brandon Weaver and sophomores Robby Shaw and Troy Hawkins. The trio tied with a team best 219, that placed the team tied at 47th overall.

“We just didn’t play up to our potential,” Hawkins said. “I hit the ball well but my putting killed me. That’s definitely something I’ll have to work on.”

Shaw had the best one day finish for Western, shooting a second round 1-under-par 69. Weaver stayed steady throughout with scores of 72, 74 and 73 in the three rounds of the tournament.

“I was encouraged by our second round performance, but I don’t think they were happy with their overall performance,” coach Brian Tirpak said. “Weave was struggling with his ball striking and everyone was struggling with going out of bounds. It was encouraging to see Robby get a 69 in the second round though.”

UCLA won the 18-team tournament with a dominant performance that netted an 11-under-par 829. Finishing a distant second was Drake with an 845 followed by Idaho, Boise State and California State-Northridge. Travis Pertoni of California Poly took home first place individual honors with a 6-under-par 204 after a final round 67.

The Cowboy Classic was played on Bermuda grass, the same type of surface that Western will play on in the conference tournament.

“It was good to get a chance to play on Bermuda,” Tirpak said. “It’s totally different than what we’ve been playing on, so this was a big plus.”

Western’s men’s and women’s teams will next compete April 19-21 at the Sun Belt Conference championships at the Bluewater Bay Resort in Niceville, Fla. The Toppers have a tough challenge in the SBC championships, but are optimistic as the season winds down.

“Our confidence is a little low right now but we have the potential,” Weaver said. “We should do well if we just stick to our game. If we don’t step up we’ll get drilled.”

Reach Jason Stamm at [email protected]