Few things better announce the coming of spring more than teeing off on a par-5 and cruising around in a golf cart. Even though the weather around Boise State campus tells a different story, Bronco men’s golf will begin the spring season with the 10th Annual Pat Hicks Thunderbird Invitational in St. George, Utah.
The 36-hole tournament begins today and runs through Tuesday. Boise State golfers will face off against nine other teams on the par-72, 6,781-yard Sunbrook Golf Club.
Included in the field is tournament-host Southern Utah, Weber State, Utah State and Seattle.
Boise State will send six golfers to the tournament, with Ty Travis, Jordan Skyles, Logan France, David Elliot and Kyle Mitsunaga competing for the team, and Mark Brassey playing as an individual.
The teams will play 18 holes each day.
Boise State head coach Kevin Burton sees this tournament as a great opportunity for his team to play against teams it rarely gets to compete against, as well as the usual cast of teams.
“This is a good tournament. You have all of the usual locals from Utah and Colorado, but we also get some teams we don’t get to see a lot like Oral Roberts and Northern Illinois,” Burton said. “You get some teams in there that’s kind of fun to play against that you normally don’t get to see.”
The Thunderbird Invitational is Boise State’s first competition of the season, and could be a strong indicator of how the season will play out based on the challenging field. The Broncos had the opportunity of practicing on the course leading up to the tournament, but there is still expected rust for the players coming out of the offseason.
According to Burton, the Thunderbird Invitational is by no means a warm up for the season, and he believes his team has a strong opportunity to win.
“We’re going for the win. This is a field that I think if we can shake the rust off in the first days of practice when we get down there that we should be able to compete,” Burton said. “It’s definitely one that we’re looking at that we think we can win.”
In order for the team to play well coming out of the offseason, it’s crucial for the returning veterans to guide what is a young Boise State roster.
Three Broncos — Elliot, Mitsunaga and Brassey — are competing in their first spring tournament as collegiate golfers.
“We need our leaders to play well,” Burton said. “Typically the younger guys will ride off that wafer and play solid. We don’t have to play our best to win, we just have to play smart.”
The Broncos won’t compete in another tournament until March 10-11, when they travel south for the annual Sacramento State Invitational.