2002-03 Golf Season Review
May 13, 2003
A young Air Force golf team suffered growing pains under first-year head coach George Koury, but the team gained valuable experience and had some successes along the way. Koury, who took over for veteran coach Gene Miranda after three seasons as the junior varsity coach, has transitioned well from being an assistant to the man in charge.
"Being around Miranda for so long and as organized as he was, made it a pretty smooth transition," Koury said. "He had everything set up for me to slide right in and take over."
Koury started his head coaching career without two-time team MVP Ben Leestma, who graduated in May 2002. With the loss of Leestma, who carried the team throughout his career, the coach started rebuilding the program with a core of young players. In several tournaments, Koury placed three freshmen in the starting lineup: J.T. Hamamoto, Adam Myers and Scott Redmond. The freshmen were joined by sophomore Adam Wasinger, and Koury had assembled one of the youngest and most inexperienced golf teams in recent history.
The Falcons kicked off the 2002 fall season in New Mexico at the Tucker Invitational. The team had a disappointing start, finishing in 17th place. Senior Chris Dieter tied for 49th place and was the top finisher for the first time in his career.
Air Force rebounded in its next tournament -- the Falcon Invitational. The team placed 11th overall, with Wasinger leading the way. However, the best three-round total came from freshman Jarett Hamamoto, who was playing on a junior varsity team. Hamamoto finished tied for 15th place.
Wasinger led the way again for the Falcons in their next tournament, leading the team to an 11th place finish at the Denver Invitational.
The highlight of the fall was the Service Academy classic. The event, which is held each October in the Dallas area, is the premier event on the fall schedule for the Falcons. The Falcons won the competition, capturing their eighth consecutive tournament title. Air Force golfers claimed the top two and three of the top four individual finishes. Wasinger grabbed first place, carding a career-low 217 to lead the team. Team captain Brandon Daum was runner up with a three-round total of 220.
The Falcons then competed in the Louisiana Tech Invitational, where they placed 10th overall. Once again, Wasinger had the best Falcon finish. He tied for fourth place overall with a three-round total of 221. He was in first place heading into the second day after notching a career-best 69 in the opening round.
The Falcons closed out the fall season with a disappointing 18th place finish at The Prestige in Palm Springs, Calif. Freshman Adam Myers was the top finisher for the first time in his career, carding a career-best 223. It would turn out to be Myers last tournament as a Falcon, as he left the Academy to pursue other opportunities at the end of the fall season.
After a short hiatus, the Falcons picked up the clubs and prepared for the spring season. The Falcons left the blistery winter weather of Colorado and headed to sunny Hawaii for their first spring tournament - the Waikoloa Invitational. The change in climate had its affect, as the team tied for 25th place overall. Wasinger again had the team's lowest score.
After notching a last-place finish at the Colorado Invitational in Turlock, Calif., the Falcons rebounded nicely to place seventh in back-to-back tournaments. Hamamoto tied for 20th place at the Shocker Classic and finished 18th at the Cowboy Classic to lead the Falcons to seventh-place finishes in both events.
The Falcons finished the regular season at the BYU Classic, where team captain Brandon Daum had the team's lowest score for the first time all season. His three-day total of 221 was good enough to place him at 21st overall and a team finish of 10th place.
Air Force finished the season in a disappointing fashion, placing eighth at the 2003 Mountain West Conference championships in Sunriver, Ore. The Falcons carded a three-round total of 923 (305-308-310). The Falcons struggled on a tough course, capturing four of the bottom five spots in the tournament. Jarett Hamamoto had the top Air Force finish, tying for 26th place overall with a three-round total of 225.
Wasinger was selected as the team most valuable player. He has been a stabilizing force for the Falcons in his first two years, missing just one varsity tournaments in two seasons. He won his first tournament trophy in October, capturing first place at the 2002 Service Academies Classic. He led the team in four consecutive tournaments in the fall and twice more in the spring. He finished the year with the team's lowest overall scoring average.
Koury is excited about the growth of the team in the first year under his leadership. He is excited about the direction the program is heading and although the team is young, Koury expects the Falcons to continue to improve. The young core of golfers gained valuable experience, and the team is already looking forward to next season.