Tomorrow we are off to Scottsdale, Arizona, to compete in the Wyoming Cowboy Classic(click for preview), our final regular season event of the season before the Pac-10 Championships. Walk-on RS Freshman, Travis Milleman, will be making his first appearance in the starting five for us. You may be asking yourself…with just one event left before the post-season why is a guy who hasn’t been in the line-up all year playing? One of the most common questions I am asked by potential student-athletes is, ‘Coach, how do you determine your line-up from week to week?’
Just as we compete in practice each and every day with competition and statistics, the team competes for their spot in the line-up between each event. After each event Tim and I review the performance of each individual and then decide whether or not theindividual performed well enough to earn an exemption. The number of spots remaining not given out through exemptions are then up for grabs in some sort of qualifying, which is typically 36-54 holes.
After Alex’s 2nd place finish at The Duck Invitational and with no one else inside the top 25 we decided Alex would be exempt and the other 7 guys would compete for 4 spots. At this point in the season it starts to become a little more clear who your top 5 guys are (and the power ratings make that pretty black and white), but I felt it was important to let the team know a 4th place finish and just one guy in the top 25 was not up to the standards of what we expect of ourselves. With this in mind, I wanted to open the qualifying up to everyone but at the same time give the guys who had performed the best throughout the season a little bit of an advantage. So, I looked at the difference between each of the guys’ power ratings and said if the guys in the 6-8 spot in the ratings wanted to qualifying they would have the defeat the indiviudals in front of them by the stroke differential predicted. Essentially the difference in the power ratings is the prediction of how many strokes they would defeat the person behind them per round.
Entering the 54 hole qualifier (1 round @ Illahe Hills CC, 2 @ Spring Hill CC), Travis Milleman had to defeat David, Casey, Jonnie, and Nick by 4 shots, Jeff by 2 shots, and Connor by 1. With a very good round of 72 in the final round in some tough weather conditions, Travis finished 4th in the qualifying and easily covered the stroke differential to earn his first start in the line-up. Tim and I will select the team for the post-season, but to this point in the year everyone has had more than their share of opportunities to show they deserve to be the one of the six who gets picked for the Pac-10 Championships.
Make sure to check back throughout the weekend and during the Wyoming Cowboy Class as our player blog feature will return this coming week with Travis writing about his first experience playing in the top 5. For live updates at the event you can also follow myself @JonReehoorn on Twitter and via our team page @BeaversMGolf.