Merritt Wins Fifth Straight; Earns WAC Player of the Year

SAN JOSE, Calif. Boise State University men’s golfer Troy Merritt captured the individual title at the 2008 Western Athletic Conference Championships Wednesday, Apr. 30, with a 7-under 209.


This is the fifth consecutive tournament victory for Merritt who won the conference championship by 10 strokes and was the only golfer in the 45-man field to finish under-par. With the win, Merritt was named WAC Player of the Year and became the first Boise State golfer to win an individual conference championship since Ryan Deiro captured the Big Sky Championship in 1996.


“To win five in a row is great,” said Merritt. “You don’t think about it while you’re playing. You look at it after you’re done one shot at a time, one tournament at a time and add them all up at the end of the year. If you have the low man continuously, you’re going to win it. That’s what happened.”


Merritt posted the second-best round of the day as he recorded a 71 (-1) in the third round en route to the individual championship. Merritt led the tournament in par-4 scoring (3.87, -4) and birdies (13) while tying for the event lead in par-5 scoring (4.50, -6) and eagles (1). Merritt’s 209 (-7) set the Boise State school record for an individual three-round conference championship score topping the 215 (-1) posted by John Baranco at the 2007 WAC Championships.


Merritt continues to lead the NCAA in tournament victories (7) and scoring average (69.25). He also owns the Boise State school record for season top 10 finishes (11), lowest round (62, -9), three-round score (200, -16), single-round conference championship score (66, -6), three-round conference championship score (209, -7) and season scoring average (69.25). During his five tournament winning streak, he has recorded under-par scores in 14 of his last 15 rounds.


The Boise State men’s golf team captured second place with a 32-over 896. This was the Broncos best finish in its WAC history topping the team’s third place finish at the 2007 championships. Boise State remained in second place throughout the tournament, even pulling to within four strokes of the lead heading into the final round of play. The Broncos posted a 305 (+17) in the final round to maintain second place but were unable to wrestle the lead away from New Mexico State who held the lead throughout the three-day tournament.


Senior Matt Hastings closed out his Boise State career by earning second-team all-conference honors as he finished fifth at the championships with a 7-over 223. Hastings tied for the tournament lead in par-5 scoring (4.50, -6) while finishing ninth in both birdies (9) and pars (32). Hastings entered the third round of the tournament tied for second place with a 1-under 143, but posted an 80 (+8) during the last day to fall to fifth place. This is the best conference championship finish for Hastings topping his tie for ninth place finish at the 2005 championships. This was the fourth straight year Hastings has finished amongst the top 25 individuals at the WAC Championships. He concludes his golf career ranked throughout the Boise State record book including categories such as career scoring average, season top 25 finishes, career top 10 finishes and career top 25 finishes.


John Baranco was the most consistent player throughout the tournament as he registered a 75 (+3) in each round en route to a 225 (+9) and a tie for eighth place. Baranco led the 45-man tournament field in birdies with 39 while ranking ninth in par-5 scoring (4.83, -2) and 10th in par-4 scoring (4.27, +8). This was the second top 10 finish of the season for Baranco, who led the Broncos in scoring at the 2007 WAC Championships with a 1-under 215, to finish seventh.


Robbie Richards tied for 31st with a 240 (+24). The Broncos used Richards’ 79 (+7) in the final round as the third counting score for Boise State. He finishes the year with a 76.79 scoring average.


Kevin Tarango registered a 244 (+28) at the championships to tie for 35th place. The Broncos used his 79 (+7) in the second round as a qualifying score. Tarango concludes the season with a 76.88 scoring average over 14 rounds of play.


The NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Committee will select the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships participants Monday, May 5, at 4:00 p.m. (MT).



WAC Championships

San Jose, Calif.

Cinnabar Hills Golf Club

Apr. 28-30


Boise State Individuals 1. Troy Merritt (68-70-71-209, -7), 5. Matt Hastings (73-70-80-223, +7), T8. John Baranco (75-75-75-225, +9), T31. Robbie Richards (81-80-79-240, +24), T35. Kevin Tarango (82-79-83-244, +28).


Top Teams 1. New Mexico State (286-302-303-891, +27), 2. Boise State (297-294-305-896, +32), 3. Fresno State (305-296-307-908, +44), 4. Idaho (309-312-298-919, +55), 5. Nevada (308-307-305-920, +56), 6. San Jose State (307-308-311-926, +62), 7. Louisiana Tech (311-302-318-931, +67), T8. Hawaii (324-309-315-948, +84), T8. Utah State (311-316-321-948, +84).


Top Individuals 1. Troy Merritt, Boise State, (68-70-71-209, -7), 2. Grant Doverspike, Fresno State, (73-70-76-219, +3), 3. Kevin Lozares, NMSU, (69-77-74-220, +4), 4. Rosco Valentine, SJSU, (76-75-70-221, +5), 5. Matt Hastings, Boise State, (73-70-80-223, +7).


Boise State Quotes


Head Coach Kevin Burton

“We made some mistakes at the wrong time. (The first 8 holes) We were playing smart and not letting the course beat us. We were doing that for a long time. We got to a stretch of holes where we hit three or four balls in the hazard, made mistakes and they (New Mexico State) didn’t.”


On Troy Merritt winning: “He played solid, patient golf. He hit a lot of great iron shots. With the wind, you have to a very good ball striker and that’s what he is. He proved why he is the best.”


Senior Troy Merritt

“To win five in a row is great. You don’t think about it while you’re playing. You look at it after you’re done one shot at a time, one tournament at a time and add them all up at the end of the year. If you have the low man continuously, you’re going to win it. That’s what happened.”


“When I make a mistake, it doesn’t cost me very much. If I miss a green, I’ll miss it in a good spot where I can make an easy par. I don’t do that very much. I’ve eliminated mistakes, especially, this spring. I’ve had more birdies, less bogeys, and lower scores. Guys have to come get you when you make a lot of birdies and not many bogeys. That’s what I did. It’s just new-found confidence, I guess.”


“I learned how to play at this level last year. Last fall, I had a couple of wins. This spring, I won five out of six, including the last five.”

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