Freshman golfer Daniel Sutton didn’t even play in Idaho’s previous competition — the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Invite March 9-10 in Aiken, South Carolina.
However, Sutton made the most of his opportunity at the Desert Shootout Thursday through Saturday in Goodyear, Arizona.
The Birmingham, England, native shot a 10-under-par 206 to finish tied for second at the Denver-hosted event.
“He played golf the way he’s supposed to play,” Idaho coach John Means said. “That’s the kind of player he is. He’s got that much talent and we need that talent every time he goes out to play.”
Sutton shot a 7-under-par 65 in the third and final round Saturday to help solidify his finish. Means said he was bogey-free Friday and Saturday.
“He hit all 18 greens,” Means said of Sutton during his final round. “He actually missed three or four putts that he had dead in the hole that he left about an inch or two short. I mean, he could have shot 61 with another six inches of roll on his ball.”
The Vandals have two more events to go before competing in the Big Sky Conference Championship April 27-29 in Stockton, California. Up next, Idaho will travel to Scottsdale, Arizona, to compete in the Wyoming Cowboy Classic April 6-7.
“What I’m hoping is I’m hoping that they finally start believing in who they are, and if that’s the case, then they’re going to continue to shoot scores that are competitive,” Means said. “We can’t stop the other teams from scoring, but you certainly don’t want to get in your own way.”
Sophomore Jared du Toit followed closely behind Sutton by shooting a 9-under-par 207 to tie for sixth place.
“Jared’s starting to hit the ball better,” Means said. “He’s been struggling this spring on hitting the ball.”
Means said du Toit hit the ball pretty well Friday and Saturday, but said his putting was streaky.
“It’s not from lack of effort,” Means said. “I mean he’s been working hard on putting and he has a beautiful putting stroke.”
Idaho finished fourth as a team by posting a 25-under-par 839. The Vandals had the lowest team score in the third round.
“This is the kind of talent that this team has if they just get out of their way and perform the way they’re supposed to,” Means said.
The Vandals improved their score each day, firing a 286 the first round, 280 the second round and 273 the third round. Means attributed the day-to-day improvement to his players playing calm.
Kansas won the invitational with a 35-under-par 829, Iowa State took second with a 27-under-par 837 and Wichita State finished third with a 26-under-par 838.
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org