Boise State is set to host the 2006 Western Athletic Conference Golf Championship next Monday through Wednesday at Boise's Crane Creek Country Club . Crane Creek is a tight, challenging par 71, 6,255 yard course designed by the noted golf course architectural firm of Bob Baldock & Sons. All of the league's nine schools are scheduled to compete.
The WAC Championship pits the long-ball hitting New Mexico State Aggies, the putting genius of the Nevada Wolf Pack, the consistency of the Fresno State Bulldogs and the host Boise State Broncos as four distinct favorites. New Mexico State, led by senior Danny Bowen, is fourth in the nation in par five scoring, averaging just 4.75 strokes for each par five hole they've played this season. They are ninth in subpar strokes per round with 3.26. Nevada plays a great game and keys on their putting skills. The Pack rank second in the country in putting, averaging just 1.822 putts per green. They are also 3rd in the nation in subpar strokes per round with 3.37, 9th in the nation in par four scoring (4.13 strokes per par four hole) and 10th in par five scoring (4.78 strokes). Fresno State is ranked third in the nation in hitting the greens in regulation with a 67.3% success rate. Add in the familiarity of Boise State's players with the Crane Creek course and the WAC Championship is up in the air.
Golfstat ranks New Mexico State as the top WAC team (see below), while Fresno State is the only league school that receives votes from the Golf Coaches Association of America (8 last week). Five WAC schools have won tournaments this year. Nevada won its own Wolf Pack Classic with a 12 over par, Boise State captured the Santa Clara Invitational with a score of +3, New Mexico State topped the field in both the Cowboy Classic with a 4 under par and the Hawai'i Fall Intercollegiate with +7 and Fresno State took the Diablo Grande Invitational with a score of +44.
Individually, Boise State's Graham De Laet is the top-ranked WAC golfer in average score (adjusted for par and course conditions). De Laet is #25 with an adjusted average of 72.362. Nevada's Adam Hagen is 67th at 72.929. New Mexico State's Danny Bowen is #68 with an adjusted average score of 72.937 while Nevada's Casey Watabu is #183 with a 73.781, New Mexico State Senior Robert Goff is #225 with a 73.973 and Hawai'i senior Jarett Hamamoto is #243 with a 74.035. De Laet is the only WAC golfer to win two tournaments this year and has been named as the Xbox Live WAC Golfer of the Week four times.
Hagan is 3rd in the nation in putting, averaging a sparkling 1.745 putts per green, and 10th in the country in both par four scoring (4.02) and subpar strokes per round (4.19). Nevada's Watabu is 9th in the nation in putting, averaging just 1.767 putts per green. Fresno State's Jason Anthony is 8th in the country in green percentage in regulation with a 72.6% success rate.
1. New Mexico State (#63 in the nation)
2. Fresno State (#70 in the nation)
3. Nevada (#77)
4. Boise State (#85)
5. Hawai'i (#102)
6. San Jose State (#124)
7. Idaho (#155)
8. Louisiana Tech (#165)
Utah State is not ranked