When Southern Nevada Golf Association member Cameron Barzekoff left to play golf on scholarship at Boise State in the fall of 2018, he had plenty on his mind. Not only did he have to ponder his adjustment from high school golf to division I college golf and living on his own for the first time, the young man, who played two years at Palo Verde High before finishing high school in Arizona, had to come to grips with his father, Wayne’s, cancer diagnosis. The full mental plate proved too much in the first semester, but by the second semester, Barzekoff had become the Broncos’ best player. –By Brian Hurlburt.
“It’s a different beast,” Barzekoff says bluntly about the level between high school and collegiate golf. “The competition is much more difficult and the courses are way more challenging. It was a difficult transition and I didn’t even sniff making the traveling five players in the first semester. I kind of was struggling at the end of the year on the course and then off of it with the diagnosis of my dad. I did win the SNGA Cascata Amateur right before I left for college and that gave me a little confidence.
“But not to make any excuses, golf wasn’t my total focus at first because I was always worried about my dad and then also dealing with being away from home for the first time. When I went back in December for semester break, it really helped. I worked on my game with my dad and it was great to be around him and see that he was doing OK. Then in the spring, things started clicking and I started putting together great qualifying rounds and qualified for every travel squad.”
Barzekoff’s spring run culminated with a third place finish at the Mountain West Conference tournament at Omni National Golf Club in Tucson, Arizona. His final-round 66 tied the lowest round in Boise State history and his 12-under total–including 10-under par on the weekend when his father was there watching–tied the lowest total in Boise State conference tournament history.
“It was cool for my Dad to be there and to watch me, especially on the weekend,” Barzekoff said about Wayne, who also serves as his swing coach. “He reminded me of a couple things before the second round and it really helped. I knew going in I was playing very well and that how I was playing really wasn’t showing up in my previous results so it was satisfying to see it all come together. To finish on such a high note has me excited for a big summer.”
Boise State head coach Dan Potter was impressed with Barzekoff, especially in the final round.
“Very gutsy round for Cameron today he made putt after putt and he was just awesome. He knew he could play this course well and it was impressive to watch him get after it the way he did,” said Potter.
Barzekoff plans to play in certain SNGA tournaments and Nevada State Golf Association events in the coming months plus play in some high-level amateur tournaments in Arizona. He also plans to write to some national tournaments in an effort to secure a spot.