Boise State Prepares for WAC Championships

What’s Happening All the training, preparation and planning throughout the year by the Boise State University men’s golf team will culminate, Apr. 30 May 2, at the Western Athletic Conference Championships.

The event will be hosted by the University of Nevada in Reno, Nev., on the par 72, 7,269-yard Hidden Valley Country Club and 18 holes for each of the three days of competition. Tee times will begin at 8:30 a.m. (MT) Monday with future tee times to follow.

The Field All nine members of the WAC will be competing battling for the conference title, including Boise State, Fresno State, Idaho, Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, Nevada, New Mexico State, San Jose State and Utah State.

The Players The Boise State golf team will send five players to the WAC Championships; juniors Troy Merritt and Matt Hastings in addition to freshman John Baranco, Chris Byrne and Robbie Richards.

Merritt collected the first individual title of his Boise State career when he shot a 13-under par, 203, to win the 2007 Ron Moore Invitational by two strokes. He is now averaging 71.9 strokes per round as he continues to be a leader for the Broncos. He has also registered a 138 (-6) at the Thunderbird Invitational tournament to tie for fourth and a third place finish in the Santa Clara Invitational with a 2-under, 214. Throughout the season, Merritt has collected eight top 25 appearances and five top 10 finishes to lead Boise State in each category. His five top 10 finishes ties him for fourth on the Broncos’ all-time list for top 10 finishes in a season. During fall play, Merritt shot a school-record 62 (-9), en route to tying for first place at the District VII Shootout. At the PING Cougar Classic, Merritt opened with a 78 (+6) but dropped six strokes from his score each of the next two rounds to finished tied for 24th at the event with an even-par, 216.

Hastings is the only member of the Boise State squad to ever participate in the WAC Championships (2005, 2006). His best finish at the conference championship came as freshman, when he tied for ninth with a 223 (+7). This season, Hasting finished tied for fifth at the 2007 Ron Moore Invitational with a 9-under, 207 for his season-best score and finish. With the fifth place finish, Hastings moved into sole possession of 10th place on the list of all-time top 25 finishes in Boise State history with 13. Hastings also moved into a tie for seventh on the all-time top 10 finishes list with six. He is averaging 74.0 shots per round this year. Hastings fired a career best round of 67 at the Purple and Red Invitational in Sept. He also led the Broncos at the Braveheart Classic with a 231 (+15) to tie for 18th place.

Baranco has participated in four tournaments for the Broncos, where he has averaged 73.2 shots per round. At the Belmont Intercollegiate, Baranco shot a 4-under, 209 to finish tied for 12th at the event. Baranco also bested his low-round score by four strokes when he shot a 69(-2) in the first and third rounds of the event. Baranco has finished second in scoring for Boise State in his previous three tournaments (the Fresno State Lexus Classic, the Belmont Intercollegiate and the PING Cougar Classic). Baranco’s two top 25 finishes rank him third on the team in that category. He is averaging 70.5 strokes per round over his last six.

Richards has participated in five tournaments and is averaging 78.8 strokes per round. He recorded his career-low in the second round of the Thunderbird Invitational, 70 (-2). Richards’ high-round score for each tournament has come in the third round of play.

Byrne has four tournaments of experience under his belt and is averaging 75.1 strokes per round. His best finish in relation to par was recorded at the Belmont Intercollegiate, 216 (+3), where he also set a personal best with a 71 (E) in the first and third rounds.

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