COLUMBUS, Ohio — Of the 18 holes the Colorado women's golf team played on Tuesday, 17 went fairly well.
It was the last one that left the Buffaloes with a bitter taste as they wrapped up the second round of the NCAA regionals at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
With one round to play, CU sits in ninth place, at 36-over par after an 11-over 299 on Tuesday. The Buffs are just five shots behind the coveted sixth-place position (Purdue, at 31-over), and seven shots behind fifth place (Michigan, at 29-over). The top six teams from the regional will advance to the NCAA championship.
Five shots back is not a bad position going into the final round, but it could have been better. The Buffs lost five strokes on the final hole, with Brittany Fan posting a triple-bogey and Esther Lee and Robyn Choi both posting bogeys.
"It was tough to take," CU head coach Anne Kelly said. "I was disappointed really for them, because I know how hard they played today and to have a last hole like that sort of kicks you right in the stomach."
CU struggled to a 25-over 313 in windy conditions on Monday, but left that round just four spots out of sixth. Tuesday brought cool temperatures, but very little wind, which made it easier to score well. The Buffs took advantage of that most of the day.
In particular, Fan carded five birdies before finishing with a 74, and Kirsty Hodgkins finished at even-par 72 — an eight-shot improvement from her first round.
Senior Esther Lee, who posted a surprising 81 on Monday (just her second round in the 80s in three years at CU), posted a 75 on Tuesday. She has yet to really get her game going this week, however, with only one birdie in 36 holes. She had 15 pars and three bogeys on Tuesday.
"Esther is not quite on her game and I'm hoping she'll have a good round tomorrow," Kelly said.
Despite Lee and others struggling at times this week, the Buffs still have a chance to get past regionals for just the second time in program history. Their only NCAA championship appearance came in 2012. To get there this year, it's going to take their best round of the week on Wednesday.
"There's nothing to lose tomorrow, but we all know that we have to go out and play well," Kelly said. "I feel confident in this team. They're good players.
"It just comes down to tomorrow."
Florida (14-over) leads after two rounds, with host Ohio State just one stroke back. Florida State (plus-21) and South Carolina (plus-22) round out the top four.
Individually, Maddie Szeryk of Texas A&M is atop the leadership at 1-under 143. Seven players are within three shots of Szeryk.
Fan leads CU, tied for 22nd at 7-over.
Tuesday was just the sixth time in 20 regional rounds in program history that the Buffs broke 300 as a team. ... Three of CU's four best regional rounds came in the third round, including a 10-under par score in 2012 to propel the Buffs to the NCAA championship. ... After posting just five birdies as a team on Monday, the Buffs had 10 on Tuesday.