Brigham Young got strong final rounds from Peter Kuest and Patrick Fishburn to vault past Washington and UNLV for the title at the 63rd annual William H. Tucker Invitational on Saturday at the UNM Championship Golf Course.
Arizona senior George Cunningham closed with a 69 to win the individual championship at 8 under while Kuest was second at 5 under and Washington’s Carl Yuan third at 4 under on a day in which the winds started pounding the field about halfway though.
Kuest fired a 6-under 66 for the day’s low score. Fishburn had a 70 and the Cougars (284-302-287 – 873) closed with a 1-under-par 287 to finish 9 over for the 54-hole event.
Washington (294-287-296 – 877) was second at 13 over with Arizona (292-297-289 – 878) third at 14 over.
UNLV, which led after each of Friday’s first two rounds, struggled to a 16-over-304 and was fourth at 15 over. Colorado State was fifth at 17 over and host New Mexico closed with its strongest round of the tournament (292), to tie Colorado and San Diego State for sixth at 20 over.
New Mexico State was last in the 17-team field.
“We played well today,” UNM coach Glen Millican said. “Shooting 4 over is good for us; good for any team, for that matter. We needed to take advantage of the weather (Friday) in the morning round. But it’s better than we were in Colorado (finishing eighth of 19 teams at CSU’s Ram Master), and Colorado was better than we were in Minnesota (15th of 16 teams at Gopher Invitational). We’re not where I think we can be, but it’s certainly gotten better.”
UNM junior transfer Augustin Holé (74-71-74) had his team’s low score for the tournament, tying for 11th at 3 over. Lobo senior Andre Garcia (74-76-70) tied for 16th at 4 over.
“I felt really good about the way I played today, but overall I’m disappointed that I didn’t have a better tournament,” said Garcia, who had five birdies. “It’s my final year, so it’s my last Tucker. The conditions weren’t too bad until it started to get windy. After that, I was just trying to hold on.”
Junior Sean Carlon (75-73-74) tied for 22nd at 6 over; redshirt freshman Ross Sinclair (74-76-74) tied for 34th at 8 over and freshman Galven Green (75-75-75) tied for 40th at 9 over.
Sandia Prep graduate Isaac Alderete, playing for the Lobos as an individual, rocketed up the leaderboard midway through the final round when he played his front nine holes at 4 under and got as high as a tie for sixth place.
Then came the winds.
“The wind did make a difference, but I can’t blame that,” said Alderete, a junior, who finished at 7 over. “I just made a couple of bad swings and started to struggle a little bit. Then I misjudged a couple of long putts that led to 3-putts.”
Other UNM individuals were: Sam Dickey at 6 over, Gustavo Morantes at 8 over, Benjamin Tolsma at 11 over and Tiger Lee at 18 over.
The Wildcats’ Cunningham was playing in the Tucker for the third time, and it indeed was charming.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Cunningham, who was born in Tucson and has lived mostly in Phoenix, said of his first tournament win. “I really feel good about coming on this course and playing against such good competition. And I’m really happy with the way our team did. I’m excited for our team finishing this high so early in the season.”
San Diego State’s PJ Samiere was fourth at 2 under while Fishburn and Arizona’s Travis Fredborg – who played as an individual – tied for fifth at 1 under.