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Wyoming eyes another run at postseason win

Wyoming eyes another run at postseason win

Long after Wyoming had finished its first round at the National Golf Invitational, head coach Joe Jensen was still waiting on the returns. His men had played the first 18 holes at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes in Maricopa, Arizona, in 6 under to land in third, three shots off the lead, but Jensen was waiting on the university to finalize the team GPA.

The number should be around 3.7 – so Jensen’s anticipation was coming from a place of pride, not fear – but this is where the slightly self-deprecating team motto is debunked.

“Quite honestly I have a solid group and I’ve always had,” Jensen said. “If there’s a program slogan that defines us – and we all laugh about it – it’s that we’re better people than we are players and we poke fun at ourselves for that.”

Scores: National Golf Invitational

While Jensen’s point is clear, nevertheless here is Wyoming contending for a postseason title – again. The Cowboys played in the inaugural NGI last spring and were part of a five-team horserace in the final round. Wyoming finished second to Texas State by a single shot after having a one-shot lead going into the final hole.

“It was so close and for us to finish second, it was such a great learning experience,” Jensen said. “So fond, fond, fond memories.”

On Friday, each of four teams had the lead at some point during the round: Wyoming, TCU, Butler and Richmond. Ultimately, TCU finished at 9 under for the overnight lead, with Richmond in second at 8 under and Butler in fifth at 4 under.

Washington State’s Preston Bebich and TCU’s Jack Beauchamp lead the individual race at 5 under.

For Wyoming, junior Patrick Azevedo, in the No. 4 spot, birdied half his holes, including five straight from No. 13 to 17. Including Azevedo, Wyoming counted three rounds of 3-under 69 plus a 75 from Davis Seybert in the No. 5 spot, with whom Jensen spent the majority of the day. Leading scorer Jimmy Dales posted an uncharacteristic 77 after a marathon week that included graduation, moving, driving home to Michigan and then flying back to Arizona.

“I’m cautiously pleased with how we played,” said Jensen, who knows from experience how tight this tournament will likely be.

Jensen, who has led Wyoming for 23 seasons, is a guy who loves his job and someone who tries to cultivate a family-like team atmosphere. He jokes that Wyoming leads the nation in parents. But rankings-wise, Wyoming is a team that’s always in the conversation though often a little…


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