The University of Wyoming golf team doesn’t have a rich history. Laramie, nestled in the High Plains of the Equality State, isn’t exactly a hummingbird feeder attracting elite high school golf players.

UW head coach Joe Jensen has made a living off recruiting high-academic youngsters — from northerly states such as Wyoming, South Dakota, Washington and Colorado — who have a solid game that can be tweaked and improved during their time in the brown and gold. The past few years provides tangible proof of the growth of the program.

The Pokes’ average finish at the Mountain West Conference championships over the last five years is 6.8 with a high-water mark of fifth in 2018. Wyoming has never placed worse than eighth. That’s not bad at all for a conference littered with schools that never see a flake of snow 12 months out of the year.

Those schools like San Diego State and UNLV have produced accomplished professional golfers such as Xander Schauffele, Adam Scott and Charlie Hoffman to name a few. Wyoming doesn’t possess the same distinguished list of alumni. The Pokes hold dear to David Hearn — a Canadian golfer who has acquitted himself well on Tour the last decade — who played at Wyoming in the late 90s, early 00s and is by far the most accomplished professional golfer to come out of UW.

But this past week showed that another UW golfer is working his way up the professional ladder. Drew McCullough — a byproduct of the recent upward trajectory of UW’s golf program — could perhaps be the next “David Hearn.”

McCullough has competed in two of the three events on the Mackenzie Tour — AKA the Canadian Tour. He has participated in his pair of events by way of Monday qualifying, meaning that he’s grinding for starts.

But McCullough has made good by his Monday qualifying efforts. In both the Canada Life Open and the GolfBC Championships, he has parlayed his Monday qualifying into two made cuts.

Just this past weekend, at the GolfBC Championships, McCullough shot three rounds of 66 (five-under), with an ugly 74 on Friday, en route to tying for ninth. The top-20 finish qualified McCullough for the Lethbridge Paradise Canyon Open this weekend. There’s no need for him to Monday qualify.

McCullough enjoyed a successful four-year stint at UW. He placed sixth overall as a junior at the MWC championships, and while he fell into a tie for 17th as a senior in 2018, he was an integral part of the team placing fifth, its highest conference finish ever.

McCullough hails from Richland, Washington, where his high school teacher was Jason Aichele — a former UW golfer himself — who caddied for Hearn on the Tour some years back.

Hearn is struggling through the 2018-19 season, as he’s currently 155th in the FedExCup Standings. Hearn is only partially exempt on Tour this season and needs to finish in the top 125 to gain full status on Tour, something he hasn’t had since 2016-17.

Hearn is likely on the back nine of his career, excuse the pun, but when he finally fades out, McCullough may be primed to carry the brown and gold torch in professional golf. The Pokes aren’t known for producing pro after pro like some of their conference brethren, but McCullough is a success story worth following.

 

Pokes Notes

Ryan Larsen will join the University of Wyoming women’s basketball coaching staff as an assistant, while Mattison Maisel will become the new director of operations.