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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Idaho men’s golf program joining Big West Conference

Coach David Nuhn, right, and his Idaho Vandals will golf in the Big West Conference next season.  (Courtesy of Idaho athletics)

The University of Idaho men’s golf team has found a new home.

The program is joining the Big West Conference, beginning this fall, Idaho announced. The Big Sky dropped golf with participating schools dwindling to four this season and no longer meeting the minimum for an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.

Idaho and Sacramento State accepted invitations to the Big West as affiliate members. Weber State and Northern Colorado previously announced they’re joining the Summit League.

“I am excited for our team to build on its success over the past few years and play in a league where we have a conference title to our name,” UI Athletic Director Terry Gawlik said. “The Big West is an outstanding men’s golf league and we are excited to compete with some of the best teams on the West Coast.”

Idaho was a full Big West member from 1996-2005 and shared the 2000 men’s golf title with New Mexico State. The Vandals have competed in at least one Big West-hosted tournament every season for more than a decade.

The Big West will have 12 men’s golf teams next season. The conference tournament annually is held at La Quinta (California) Country Club, near Palm Springs.

“We are familiar with the teams in the league and are comfortable with the high level of golf being played in the Big West,” Vandals coach David Nuhn said. “The competition top to bottom in the conference will make our team better. I’m excited for the opportunity to compete for a Big West Championship in 2025 and I know our players feel the same way.”

Sykes finishes regional on high note

Idaho sophomore Joe Sykes finished his season on a high note, firing an even-par 70 Wednesday at the NCAA Stanford (California) Regional.

Sykes finished at 3-over 213 after three rounds at Stanford Golf Course. He opened with a 76 but responded with a 3-under 67 Tuesday.

Sykes, who qualified for regionals by winning the Big Sky Tournament championship, tied for 44th.

Plaster, Renner, McGann advance in Open qualifying

Washington State’s Nate Plaster and Sam Renner and Idaho’s Matt McGann advanced through U.S. Open local qualifying.

Renner, who recently finished his sophomore season, shot a 4-under 66 at Palouse Ridge to share medalist honors with Wyatt Brook.

McGann, a Gonzaga Prep grad and redshirt junior at Idaho, took third with a 67. Four of 83 participants earned spots in the 36-hole final qualifying stage.

Plaster, also a Gonzaga Prep grad, shot a 65 at Missoula Country Club to share second with Brady McKinlay. Plaster won in a playoff to earn the second and final qualifying spot in a field of 42 players.