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Vandals down Broncos in first 'Battle for Idaho' golf dual

Apr. 17—BOISE — An in-state rivalry as old as the Star Wars franchise was renewed between the Idaho and Boise State men's golf teams.

The Vandals came back from seven strokes down in the first round to win the inaugural two-day "Battle for Idaho" dual 885-895 on Tuesday at Hillcrest Country Club.

"It was an exciting opportunity to play against a longtime rival and compete for bragging rights in the Gem State," Idaho coach David Nuhn said in a news release. "We are grateful to Boise State for hosting us and Hillcrest and their membership for allowing us to play. The course was a great test, and we are going to be better prepared to face the conference tournament after playing here."

The dual was a six-count-four format, with six golfers competing for both teams, and the top-four scores counting for each team.

Idaho sophomore Joe Sykes shared top honors with Boise State's Cole Ruech; the pair recorded a three-round total of six-over 219.

Sykes shot an even-par 71 in round three.

"The management was there for Joe," Nuhn said. "He was patient, remained calm and made a lot of four-to-six-foot putts. Overall, it was methodical and measured; he didn't let himself get too high or low."

The Littlehampton, England, native had a first-round score of 5-over 76. He took four strokes off his total with a one-over 72 in the second round.

Sykes was in a three-way tie for second place after Monday's festivities with a score of 148.

The rivals went into round three tied at 591-591. The Vandals pulled away on the back nine to earn the 10-stroke victory.

Idaho sophomore Sam Johnson placed third with a three-round total of nine-over 222.

The Congleton, England, native was tied for sixth on Monday with a score of 149. He climbed three spots after going 2-over 72 in the third round.

Johannes Hounsgaard and TJ Patterson both finished tied for fourth with a total of 9-over 222.

The duo had their best showing in the second round, with scores of 2-over 73.

Rueck was the lone golfer in the top five for the Broncos.

The Corvallis, Ore., native birdied the sixth and seventh holes to pull even with Sykes. He parred his final two holes to finish 6-over 219.

Rueck led the 12-individual field with 32 pars.

Drew Reinke placed sixth for the Broncos, finishing 12-over 219.

The Meridian, Idaho, native had a first-round total of 1-under 70. It was the lowest score of the dual, and he was the only golfer in the field to go under par.

This was the first time the Broncos hosted a home golf event in the Treasure Valley in more than a decade.

The Vandals will next compete at the Big Sky Championships on April 23 at Wigwam Golf Club in Litchfield Park, Ariz.

"I am proud of the guys for remaining patient, showing composure and finishing strong," Nuhn said. "There are several guys on the team who are really confident heading into next week and are really prepared to play well at Wigwam."

Battle for Idaho

Hillcrest Country Club

Team score — 1. Idaho 885; 2. Boise State 895

Individual leaders — T1. Cole Rueck, Boise State, 219; T1. Joe Sykes, Idaho, 219; 3. Sam Johnson, Idaho, 222.

Other Idaho individuals — T4. Johannes Hounsgaard 223; T4. TJ Patterson 223; 6. Drew Reinke, Boise State, 225; 7. Matt McGann, Idaho, 227; 8. Dalton Dean, Idaho, 228; 9. Will O'Connor, Boise State, 229; T10. Luke Cushman, Boise State, 232; T10. Alex Talbot, Boise State, 232; 12. Ryan Meyer 233.