The BYU golf team was hoping to make Coach Karl Tucker's final tournament a memorable one. However, the Cougars came up two strokes short of making the cut Thursday and were eliminated after the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Cougars' 296 total Thursday gave them a two-day 587 and left them in a 20th-place tie with San Jose State. Last year that would have been good enough to keep playing, but the NCAA decided to cut the field to 15 teams after the second round this year."I've never been in favor of the cut and I hate to use that as sour grapes," said Tucker. "We didn't play that badly today. We're only 10 shots out of fifth place."
Still, Tucker and the Cougar players will stick around to cheer on teammate Mike Weir, who was one of 10 individuals to make the cut. Weir added a 72 to his first-day 70 for a 142 total and 10th-place standing overall.
However, Weir has little chance of catching leader Phil Mickelson of Arizona State, who is running away with the tournament at 128. He added a 65 Thursday to his opening-round 63, which put him a whopping 10 shots ahead of second-place Charlie Stevens of Texas Christian University and Patrick Lee of Oklahoma by 10 shots. Mickelson won the NCAA title in 1989 and 1990.
Mickelson says he has no intention of letting up.
"If you lose the fear (of playing poorly), you lose the edge," he said after again conquering the desert course rated as one of the toughest in the Southwest.
For the second straight day, Mickelson had seven birdies and an eagle but also flashed a little mortality by bogeying the par-4 third hole and par-3 12th.
Arizona State team leads the team race at 12-under-par 564 followed by No. 1 Arizona at 570 and No. 4 Oklahoma State at 573. Oklahoma is fourth at 576 followed by Florida and Alabama at 577.
BYU got a very consistent effort from its five-man team, but needed a couple of hot rounds to make the cut. Senior Ramon Brobio fired a 74 Thursday for a two-round total of 147. Seniors Ryan Rhees and Dean Wilson and sophomore Brad Sutterfield each shot three-over-par 75 in the second round to total 148, 150 and 152, respectively.
Other schools to qualify for Friday and Saturday's play were Nevada-Las Vegas (581), New Mexico (581), Houston (581), Stanford (583), Texas (583), Central Florida (583), Georgia Tech (583), Arkansas (585) and Clemson (585).