Falcons Open Season at CU Invitational
Sept. 9, 2011
Tournament #1Mark Simpson Colorado InvitationalSept. 12-13, 2011Colorado National Golf Club | Erie, Colo. This Week The Air Force golf team opens its season on Monday, Sept. 12 when it heads to Erie, Colo., for the second annual Mark Simpson Colorado Invitational, being held at the par-72, 7,741-yard Colorado National Golf Club. The 54-hole tournament is slated to begin with two rounds on Monday with an 8:00 a.m. shotgun start, while the final round will begin Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 8:00 a.m. The Field Fifteen teams are slated to compete in the Mark Simpson Colorado Invitational, including four teams from the state of Colorado. A full list of this year’s field follows: Air Force, Colorado, Colorado State, Gonzaga, Houston Baptist, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Northern Colorado, Oklahoma, San Diego, Utah, UTEP and Wyoming. Air Force Head Coach George Koury This fall, Air Force head coach George Koury enters his 10th season at the helm of the Falcons’ golf program. After serving three seasons as an assistant under legendary coach Gene Miranda, Koury took over the program at the start of the 2002-03 season. Koury, a 1993 Academy graduate and former team captain and MVP, has helped the Falcons continue their dominance at the Service Academy Golf Classic, winning 14 straight titles at the event. In addition, he helped lead Air Force to the team title at the 2005 Falcon Invitational, marking the first time since the inaugural event in 1969 that the team won its own tournament outright. Eisenhower Blue Course Named One of the Best In its recent list of the Best Campus Courses, Golfweek has recognized the Eisenhower Golf Club - Blue Course as one of the best in the nation. The Falcons’ home course checks in at No. 21 on the list and is one of just two Mountain West Conference home courses to be recognized (New Mexico’s Championship Course is listed at No. 13). To qualify for Golfweek’s Best Campus Courses list, a course must be part of a school’s recreational life in terms of preferential access for students, faculty and alumni. Up Next Air Force hosts the 43rd annual Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational Sept. 18-19 at the Eisenhower Golf Club - Blue Course. Nineteen teams are slated to compete in this year’s tournament, including three of Air Force’s Mountain West rivals. This year’s field consists of Air Force, Air Force `B’, Ball State, Colorado, Colorado State, Denver, North Carolina State, Northern Colorado, Northern Iowa, San Diego, Southern Utah, UCCS, UNLV, Utah, Utah State, Coastal Carolina, UTEP, Weber State and Wyoming. 2011-12 Season Preview The Air Force men’s golf team enters the 2011-12 campaign with plenty of experience and excitement. Five Falcons that played in at least 10 of the team’s 12 events last year return and that list doesn’t even include this year’s team captain, who tied for seventh at the Mountain West Championships last season. The Falcons will also look for their 15th consecutive victory at the Service Academy Championships against service-academy rivals Army and Navy at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Oct. 24-25. For the team’s complete schedule, please visit www.goairforcefalcons.com. Senior captain Robert Belz and sophomore Philip Colwell lead the team into the 2011 season. Belz finished seventh at the Mountain West Championships last year in what was just his second tournament of the spring season due to injuries. He carded a first-round 69, which tied for the team’s low round of the entire season. He posted a 1-under 212 at the tournament. Colwell, meanwhile, was the only Falcon to participate in every event last season. He led the squad with seven par-or-better rounds and finished second with a season average of 74.7, just two-tenths of a shot behind Belz. Colwell’s best event was even par at the Purple and Red Invitational, good for 15th place. Colwell also posted a 69 last year in the third round of the PING Cougar Classic. Senior Caleb Leestma and sophomore Kyle Westmoreland should also be mainstays in the lineup this year. Leestma, who played in 11 events last year, should improve on his scoring average of 76 in ’11-12. He got off to a great start last year as a junior, posting a 69 in the first round of the season and he finished third on the team with four rounds of par or better. Leestma’s best showing was tying for fourth place at the Service Academy Golf Classic. Westmoreland also played in 11 events and tied for third on the team with a 75.3 scoring average. He tied for second at the Service Academy Golf Classic and posted a personal-best 72 three different times, including twice at the PING Cougar Classic. Juniors Andrew Hoops and Wes Denny are back after playing in 10 and seven events, respectively. Hoops led Air Force at the season-opening Falcon Invitational, tying for 19th place with a 3-over par 219, including a season-best 70 in the season’s first round. Meanwhile, Denny earned a spot in the starting lineup last season after competing unattached in the first two tournaments of the season. He finished as Air Force’s top overall performer at the CU-Mark Simpson Invitational and added a second-place finish, tying with Westmoreland, at the Service Academy Golf Classic. Senior Travis Deckert also returns after playing in just two events last year, but he tied for third on the team with a 75.3 scoring average. Other returners that will battle for spots in the lineup include sophomores Todd Berglund, Jack Howard, Blake Jones and Miguel Macias. Joining the team this year is freshman Blake Edwards of Winter Springs, Fla.