Broncos Share Lead At MW Championships
April 21, 2017

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    TUCSON, Ariz. - All five Bronco golfers shot even par or better during Friday's opening round of the Mountain West Championships, putting Boise State in a tie with San Diego State atop the team leaderboard at 9-under (279).

    Freshman Brian Humphreys led the way for the Broncos, finishing his round with a birdie on No. 18 to close at 5-under 67 and tied for second on the individual leaderboard. Junior Donny Hopoi is tied for fourth at 3-under while freshman Connor Johnstone closed at 1-under. Senior Kyle Mitsunaga and freshman Mason Schulze each shot an even-par 72.

    UNLV is two strokes behind the Broncos and Aztecs at 7-under. The Rebels' John Oda leads the individual contest at 6-under, a stroke ahead of Humphreys and Wyoming's Ryan Wallen.

    "Everybody was really solid today. They holed some putts so I would say that they we were really solid throughout and put themselves in good spots to make some putts," said Boise State head coach Dan Potter. "When everybody's in it and playing well, you love to have all five on their game and we had that today. Connor played a solid round from start to finish. Considering we have three guys that are freshman and four that haven't seen the course before, it was good to see them be comfortable out there. Their good rounds can stack up well against the field."

    The Broncos were the only team in the 11-team field to have all five golfers shoot even par or better on the day.

    Boise State did much of their damage on the par 5s at the par-72 Catalina Course at Omni Tucson National, combining to shoot 11-under on those holes. Potter credited the Broncos' success on the long holes with accurate tee shots and clutch putting.

    "We shot good tee balls onto the fairway. The guys all hit the ball long enough to to be able get it around the greens in two [shots], and had an efficient short game, making putts when they needed to," Potter said.

    Humphreys started fast out of the gate Friday, sitting at 3-under after the first two holes following a birdie on No. 1 and an eagle on the par-5 No. 2. A bogey at No. 3 dropped him to 2-under before closing the front nine with six-straight pars. He shot 3-under on the back nine, opening with a birdie on No. 10 before closing with a flourish, carding birdies on No. 16 and 18. In the last group of the day, his birdie at No. 18 pulled the Broncos into the tie with San Diego State at 9-under.

    "Brian played great. It was great to see him get off to a good start and get that momentum early. He settled in in the middle part of the round and finished well with birdies at 16 and 18. It was a rock solid round for him," Potter said. "It was gonna be a good start regardless but to see that one go in got everyone fired up.

    Hopoi carded a team-best five birdies over the first round, with three of those coming on the back nine. Only a bogey on 17 kept him out of the top three on the leaderboard, but he rebounded to par the 18th and finish at 69. Johnstone made the turn at 1-under before carding a birdie, a bogey and seven pars to shoot even over the back nine and stay at 1-under for the round. Schulze's birdie on No. 8 had him at 1-under until a bogey on 16 brought him back to even, where he finished after pars on each of the final two holes. Mitsunaga was also at 1-under until late, when a bogey on 17 brought him to even. He finished his round with four birdies and four bogeys.

    The Broncos will once again be in the final groups for Saturday's second round. Mitsunaga will be first to tee off for the Broncos at 10:40 a.m. MT, followed by Schulze (10:48 a.m.), Johnstone (10:56 a.m.), Hopoi (11:04 a.m.) and Humphreys (11:12 a.m.). San Diego State and UNLV golfers will be grouped with the Broncos.

    "I told our guys last night that today was pretty insignificant in terms of where we stood on the board going into Saturday. It's a three-round tournament, it only matters where we stack up after the final round," Potter said. "I love to see our name at the top of the board but the biggest takeaway today is this is a course we're comfortable on and can score on. As we approach the end we'll need to be more mature and in control. It'll take more good golf to stay where we're at. I encouraged the guys to take it for what it is and let's get in the mix for the third round."

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