STOCKTON, Calif. - By the end of the NCAA West regional on Wednesday, the Colorado men's golf team hopes to be among the top five teams and earn a trip to the national finals.
Monday's first round, however, was about staying in the hunt, and the Buffaloes did just that.
CU finished the opening round at The Reserve at Spanos Park with a 2-over par 290 team score. That left the Buffs in a tie for seventh, but just five shots out of the top five.
Iowa State was the first day leader at 10-under 278, with Kansas in second at 7-under 281.
"I'm actually really pleased with our score," head coach Roy Edwards said in a press release from CU. "Just to look it, it appeared we were playing fairly poorly, but as it turned out, we're right in the middle of things. It was a good job by the guys of competing and hanging in there when not playing our best.
"The golf course played fairly difficult today. It was downright cold this morning, high 50s with a lot of wind, blowing up near 14-18 miles per hour consistently. But we're used that and it didn't have anything to do with our score."
Seniors Spencer Painton and Yannik Paul both carded 1-under 71s to lead the Buffs. Daniel O'Loughlin finished at 1-over 73, while John Souza and Ross Macdonald both finished at 3-over 75.
Paul recorded six birdies on the day, but also had three bogeys and an uncharacteristic double bogey on the 433-yard, par-4 12th hole. It was just the fourth hole (out of 576) played by Paul this year in which he had a score worse than bogey.
Painton was even through nine and then countered three bogeys with four birdies on the back nine.
The Buffs, in the regionals for the sixth year in a row, are seeking their first trip to the NCAA finals since 2002.
"One good round tomorrow and we'll be right inside there," Edwards said. "We just need to fix some mistakes we made today, and if this turns out to be our worst round, then 2-over is really good."