The University of Colorado men’s golf team rallied in the final round, but in the end, the USC Trojans held off the Buffaloes by four strokes to claim the 59th Annual Pac-12 Conference Men’s Golf Championships in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.
The Buffs, ranked 46th, the No. 23 and host Southern California and No. 22 Arizona State, the trio atop the leaderboard through three rounds, duked it out all day in at times breezy conditions throughout the final 18 holes. At one point, CU pulled to within three of USC while ASU slipped back into third, but every time it looked like Buffs were going to inch closer, USC staved off the attempt with either a key birdie, or as was the case on the par-5 15th, two eagles.
When the smoke cleared, USC won its 20th Pac-12 title, its first since 2011, in finishing with a 31-under par 1,389 team score. The Buffs, eight back when the day began, sliced four shots off that with the second-best team score of the final round (an 8-under 347) to finish second with a 27-under 1,393 total. The Sun Devils claimed third at 23-under 1,397, followed by No. 17 Stanford (1,402) and No. 8 California (1,404) to round out the top five.
Colorado’s previous best Pac-12 finish was fourth in 2014, with one other first division finish, a tie for sixth, in 2016.
Senior Yannik Paul and sophomore Ross Macdonald tied for second with school record 12-under par 272 scores to lead the Buffaloes on the 7,135-yard, par-71 Rolling Hills Country Club course layout; both had final round 4-under par 67s in identical fashion (five birdies, 12 pars, one bogey).
“I hit the ball very solid and consistent all week, but the first day I had a couple of unforced errors,” Paul said. “But I also knew there was a lot golf left to play, so I just kept focusing on every shot. I was a little too technical with my putting on the first day in the first two rounds. Yesterday, I just tried to concentrate more on the speed and the line instead of having those technical thoughts, and it definitely worked out. The key was trying to stay patient out there.
Senior John Souza bolstered the performances of Macdonald and Paul by tying for 16th, as he wrapped things up with a 2-over 73 for a 3-under 281 final total.
Senior Spencer Painton tied for 55th as he finished with a 2-over 73, closing the meet with a 7-over 291.
Freshman Trevor Olkowski tied for 58th, as he also finished with a 73 for an 8-over 292, the second-best 72-hole score by a freshman in school history.