by staff–12 Feb ’19
The Wyoming men’s golf program experienced a special day on Monday as two Cowboy golfers and four University of Wyoming donors competed in the Genesis Open Collegiate Showcase Pro-Am. Wyoming was one of only 11 collegiate golf programs in the country that took part in Monday’s Pro-Am to benefit college golf and the TGR Foundation, a Tiger Woods Chartiy.
Cowboy senior John Murdock of Laramie and junior Dan Starzinski of Phoenix, Ariz., competed with 10 other top collegiate golfers on Monday. Wyoming was the only program who had two individuals in the 12-man field. What was at stake for the nation’s best collegians was an exemption into this week’s PGA Tour Genesis Open. Lukas Euler of the University of Kentucky captured that exempt spot, but both Starzinski, who fired a 73 (+2), and Murdock, who shot a 74 (+3), played exceptionally well on one of the nation’s premier golf courses, Rivieria Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
The college golfers each played in a foursome that included a PGA Tour professional and two amateurs/donors representing their respective universities. Murdock played with PGA Tour pro Peter Malnati and UW donors Rick Gasser and Clayton Hartman. Starzinski’s foursome included PGA Tour professional Scott Langley and Wyoming donors Pat Higgins and Tom Long. The caddies for the two Cowboys were their fathers, John Murdock and Al Starzinski.
The PGA Tour professional and the two amateurs in each group played a best-ball format as a team, with the top three-person team winning a $50,000 donation to the two amateurs’ university golf program. The team of Malnati, Gasser and Hartman came up just three strokes behind the winning threesome from San Jose State on Monday.
“This was an unbelievable experience,” said Joe Jensen, UW Director of Golf and Head Golf Coach. “Dan (Starzinski) and John (Murdock) both posted really solid scores on a difficult PGA Tour golf course, and they did a great job of representing our program and our University.
“The feedback I heard from everyone was what a unique, first-class experience this was for both our players and our donors to be around the highest level of golf. Tiger Woods was here today, and John’s pro, Peter Malnati, introduced John to Tiger. It was an amazing event.
“For John and Dan to have the opportunity to play with PGA professionals was really special. The end game for our program is this is the type of event that shows our two players that they can play with the best in the nation. This experience should provide both Dan and John confidence and momentum as we begin the spring season in a couple weeks.”
In addition to the $50,000 that is awarded to the university golf program of the winning team, youth throughout Southern California benefit annually through access to the game of golf during the Genesis Open, and thousands of local students benefit from participating in STEM education and college-access programs of the TGR Foundation.
The event was created in 2015 in connection with the TGR Foundation. This year’s field of teams included: Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, San Jose State, Texas, UCLA, UNLV, USC, Wake Forest, Washington and Wyoming.