Despite its best round of the week, the Colorado men's golf team came away from the NCAA Central/Purdue regional ready to look to the future and put this week in the past.
In the final round of the tournament at Kampen Golf Course in West Lafayette, Ind., on Wednesday, the Buffs fired a 10-over par 298, one of the better rounds of the day in the 13-team event.
It wasn't enough to make up for a dismal first two rounds, but was a major improvement over plus-16 and plus-20 scores on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. CU finished 12th out of the 13 teams with a three-day score of plus-46, 910.
UNLV won the team title at plus-8, with Auburn three shots back in second. Illinois was third, New Mexico fourth and Purdue fifth. The top five teams advanced to the NCAA Championship.
"For the tournament, we're disappointed for sure," CU head coach Roy Edwards said. "We expected better and it's kind of a sour way to end what was a really good season, probably one of the best in CU history, except for the end here."
Edwards was pleased with how the Buffs played in the final round, however.
Six holes into the round, the Buffs were 3-under par, with nine birdies as a group. After posting just 15 birdies as a team in the first two rounds combined, the Buffs had 13 on Wednesday.
"Today was much better," he said. "For the most part I thought we were really competitive today. It was a really, really difficult day here."
Wind picked up throughout the day and scores were high across the field. Second round leader New Mexico went 22-over on Wednesday, while Florida went 24-over par (the worst score by any team in any round) to fall from a tie for third to eighth. Only four teams were better than CU in the final round.
Yannik Paul, CU's top finisher at 9-over par (tied for 31st), turned in the best round of the week for the Buffs with an even-par 72. Only seven players in the field were better during the third round.
"That was a really nice round," Edwards said. "He played solid all day long."
John Souza fired a 1-over 73, a 12-stroke improvement over his second round, and freshman Victor Bjorlow carded a 2-over 74, including three birdies on his first six holes.
In his last collegiate event, senior Ethan Freeman struggled to a 79. Sophomore Spencer Painton closed with an 80, including a pair of double-bogeys early in his round.
New Mexico's Andrej Bevins and Illinois' Nick Hardy finished as co-medalists, both finishing at 3-under for the tournament. The top six were all within three shots of the lead.
With the exception of Freeman, the rest of the Buffs are slated to return next year, and Edwards said he hopes this disappointment serves as motivation.
"This performance at the regional is nothing but an opportunity for us to get better," he said. "It gives us a chance to look at what our weaknesses are and have a really good summer. We'll work really hard to get better and be ready for next year.
"There's no doubt it'll make us better."