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Kyler Dunkle will have a place in Utah golf history as the runner-up to the youngest winner in State Amateur history, after losing to 15-year-old Preston Summerhays in the final match last summer.
In the University of Utah golf program, Dunkle is creating his own distinction. Dunkle this week became the first Ute golfer in 13 years to qualify for the NCAA Championships, via a demanding avenue. He tied for sixth place in a 75-player field in the Stanford Regional, claiming the only spot allotted to any golfer who was not a member of a top-five team. In other words, Dunkle had to win his own, 50-player tournament — and he did so, shooting 69-67-68 for a 6-under-par total at Stanford Golf Course.
“I'm so impressed by how he kept his composure,” said Ute coach Garrett Clegg.
Dunkle will compete in the stroke-play portion of the NCAA Championships, beginning next Friday at Fayetteville, Ark.
As the Utes’ 2018-19 school year of athletic competition winds down, it has been another eventful week for the football program — a month after spring practice ended. Coach Kyle Whittingham and his staff keep adding graduate transfers. The Utes recently have landed offensive lineman Noah Osur-Myers of Washington State and linebacker Mique Juarez of UCLA.
That makes four grad transfers who have said they're joining the program, counting Marshall offensive lineman Alex Locklear and UCLA kicker Andrew Strauch. Juarez is the most interesting addition, based on his status as a five-star recruit out of high school in Torrance, Calif., and his medical history at UCLA. The school's “strict concussion policy” ended his tenure with the Bruins in March, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.
Juarez will have to be evaluated by the Utes' medical staff before being cleared to play. With two years of eligibility remaining, Juarez would be line to start for Utah in 2020 after contributing this season.
And the 2019 schedule begins in 15 weeks. Here’s my ranking of the Utes’ 12 regular-season games, gauging the “most compelling” contests (TRIB).
The rivalry game vs. BYU is part of that discussion, of course. In the last rivalry meeting of 2018-19, the schools’ baseball teams met Tuesday at Smith’s Ballpark. Here’s how Tribune columnist Gordon Monson captured it (TRIB).
After eight years of Utah’s Pac-12 membership, coaches in every sport have had considerable time to establish their programs at this level of competition. Women’s tennis coach Mat Iandolo actually had more success than some of his Ute colleagues in the initial stages of the Pac-12 era, but he lost his job this week after first-year athletic director Mark Harlan’s “comprehensive evaluation” of the program. Iandolo had coached the team for 12 years (TRIB).
Utah also announced the hiring of Paul Kirk from Colorado State as the athletic department’s associate AD for strategic communications. He’s the successor to longtime staff member Liz Abel (TRIB).
Ute fans were alarmed last week when the New Orleans Saints waived former Utah linebacker Chase Hansen. But it turned out to be a procedural move and Hansen is back on the team’s 90-man roster (NOLA).
Utah’s next scheduled Power 5 football opponent is Baylor in 2023. Pac-12 expert Jon Wilner outlines how other schools have scheduled more ambitiously (MERC).
UCLA’s Fansided site likes the Utes in the Pac-12 South (BRUIN).
Dirk Facer of the Deseret News assesses Ute receiver Britain Covey’s rehabilitation process (DNEWS).
• Utah’s baseball team will conclude Pac-12 play this week vs. Washington State, followed by a home series next week vs. UC Davis. With the Salt Lake Bees scheduled to play each night, the Utes will host WSU at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Smith’s Ballpark.
Utah (12-32, 4-23 Pac-12) is trying to break an 11-game losing streak and remain above last place in the 11-team conference. Washington State is 2-21-1 in league play; the Cougars will host Arizona in a three-game series next week.
• Utah’s softball team showed improvement late in the season, but settled for seventh place in the nine-team Pac-12 after losing two of three games at Oregon State last week. The Utes (19-35, 7-17) were led by three players with excellent batting averages: outfielders Alyssa Barrera (.376) and Ally Dickman (.361) and second baseman Julia Noskin (.318).