Monday, July 29, 2013.
The pack was so tightly bunched at the top, it’s not surprising that the 2013 Albertsons Boise Open went to a playoff yesterday at Hillcrest Country Club. And it was Kevin Tway, the son of 1986 PGA Championship winner Bob Tway, who took home $139,500 in championship money by defeating Spencer Levin on the first extra hole. In winning the fourth playoff in Boise Open history and the first in eight years, Tway picked up the first victory of his career.
What happens on the Web.com Tour money list is huge right now, with the regular season having hit the home stretch. Tway’s win catapulted him from No. 39 to No. 6, safely within the top 25 line of demarcation that will ensure him his PGA Tour card next season. For Levin, who played the PGA Tour last year, this was only his second Web.com event of the year, and the first time he’s made the cut. He had returned to competitive golf just 11 days ago after sitting out eight months due to surgery on his thumb. But Levin’s $83,700 paycheck took him from no ranking to No. 42 on the money list. It doesn’t matter as much to Levin—he was playing this week on a medical rehab start and will return to the PGA Tour in October for the start of the 2013-14 season.
One of the three guys who finished one shot back? None other than the irrepressible Michael Putnam, the Web.com Tour money leader. He’s had three top-10 finishes in six appearances in Boise. Putnam’s lead on the money list is now a whopping $130,000. But this tournament will be remembered for the low scores after the move from September to July—the winning score of 261 by Tway and Levin (23 under) broke the Boise Open record, and Russell Knox’s 59 in the second round Friday was only the fifth such score in the history of the Web.com Tour. Knox, by the way, finished in a tie for 12th, four shots back.
Local fans had hoped they’d remember this year’s event for the charge former Boise State star Troy Merritt made on the weekend. But the surge only lasted one day. After the dazzling eight-under 63 he carded Saturday, Merritt fell back to a two-under 69 in yesterday’s final round and finished in a tie for 26th. Consequently, he moved up only two spots on the money list to No. 58. Then again, maybe he can capitalize on momentum. It was the first cut Merritt has made in five weeks.
Going into the Boise State-San Diego State game last fall, there was a lot of talk about the Broncos and Aztecs becoming rivals. The reason, of course. was that both schools were headed to the Big East. Then they faced off in Bronco Stadium, and SDSU upset Boise State, 21-19. With both universities having decided to stay in the Mountain West, they’re not joined at the hip so much anymore. But that one episode on the blue turf has rivalry talk lingering, and you won’t find Aztec players dismissing it. “I would describe it as a heavyweight title fight,” said San Diego State defensive back Nat Berhe of November’s tussle at Mountain West Media Days. “We were able to control the line of scrimmage.” Berhe’s very aware that Boise State’s Joe Southwick was a changed quarterback after that game. “He’s a competitor and an athlete, and he’ll do well,” said Berhe.
Despite being picked a distant second behind Fresno State in the West Division, San Diego State fancies itself as more than just a contender to make—and win—the first Mountain West championship game in December. The Aztecs are coming off a share of the 2012 league title but realize what’s done is done. “We can’t dwell on last year’s team,” said Berhe. “This year’s team has higher expectations. We see ourselves as being involved in a BCS bid.”
Boise State’s 2014 recruiting class had been reasonably diverse going into the weekend, but it was missing one of its staples, offensive linemen. The Broncos changed that dynamic by landing two O-line commitments over the weekend, Jesse Sosebee and Ryan Griswold. Sosebee is a 6-5, 305-pounder from Huntington Beach, CA. He plays for former Bronco linebacker Hunter White’s dad, Dave, at Edison High. Griswold measures 6-5 and a room-to-grow 250 pounds and hails from Pearland, TX. He had received five Division I offers to this point.
The Boise Hawks’ weekend will be remembered for the clubs first “breakfast game” at Memorial Stadium—and for Kris Bryant’s first professional home run. The breakfast game on Saturday drew well, considering the time of day. But the Indians were more awake than the Hawks, posting a 3-1 victory. Bryant cranked a three-run shot Friday night that keyed the Hawks’ 9-1 win over Spokane. And he launched a two-run homer last night in Boise’s 3-1 win over the Indians. In fact, Bryant drove in all three Hawks runs, although his batting average is just .174 after six games.
Hawks play-by-play man Mike Safford Jr. dusted off this stat in the ninth last night: Boise came into the game 19-0 when leading after eight innings. All the while, Spokane was loading the bases with nobody out on Hawks reliever Tyler Bremer. Then Bremer rang up three consecutive strikeouts to record his fourth save. Now that’s how you get out of a jam. The fourth of the five-game series is coming up tonight at Memorial Stadium.
Maybe Josh Harrison will stick with Pittsburgh now. The former Boise Hawk has been sent to Triple-A and called back up four different times this season but had his best game as a Buc last Thursday. Harrison went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and a game-tying, two-out, two-run ninth inning single, accounting for four RBI in a 9-7 loss to Washington. Since then, however, Harrison has appeared only as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner in Pittsburgh’s weekend series at Miami. And with baseball’s trade deadline coming up Wednesday, there are rumblings the Pirates want to strengthen their bench, and that could affect him. Harrison had a big season for the Hawks in 2008, batting .351 with 25 RBI.
KTVB.com Mountain West Factoid of the Day: Entering the 2013 football season, the conference is half “old WAC” and half “older WAC.” Six of the charter members of the Mountain West are left: Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV and Wyoming. All were part of the WAC mutiny in 1998 and split off into the Mountain West the following year. The other six football schools are recent WAC refugees: Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, San Jose State and Utah State.
This Day In Sports…July 29, 2006:
Boise’s biggest boxing card ever draws a disappointing 2,000 fans to see a past-his-prime Roy Jones Jr. win his comeback bout, a 12-round unanimous decision against Prince Badi Ajamu at Qwest Arena. It also marked the end of Kenny Keene’s career. The “Emmett Eliminator”, at the age of 38, lost to “King” Arthur Williams on a 10th-round TKO. Keene, arguably Idaho’s most popular boxer ever, finished with a record of 51-4. The Boise boxing scene virtually disappeared after that night.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)