STOCKTON, Calif. – With 18 holes to play in the NCAA West regional, the Colorado men’s golf team is in striking distance of extending its season.
During the second round of the 54-hole event on Tuesday at The Reserve at Spanos Park, the Buffaloes fired a 6-under par 282 and moved up a spot in the team rankings.
The top five teams will advance to the NCAA finals, and the Buffs are tied for sixth. At 4-under for the tournament, CU is just three shots back of fifth-place TCU and four shots behind fourth-place Stanford.
It took a back-nine rally to get to sixth.
CU played the front nine at 2-over on Tuesday, but played the back nine at 8-under. Eagles by John Souza — on the par-5 11th — and Daniel O’Loughlin — on the par-5 16th — highlighted the round.
“The round was a little bit like (Monday), kind of struggling a bit here and there, but we really played a good final nine holes to get back in it,” CU head coach Roy Edwards said in a press release. “The guys did a really good job of competing and fighting.”
Senior Yannik Paul and O’Loughlin both carded 3-under 69s, while Spencer Painton finished at 2-under 70. Souza carded a 2-over 74, and Ross Macdonald finished at 8-over 80. The top four scores count toward the team score.
“You don’t play as well as you want all the time, and this is a good, solid golf course,” Edwards said. “We were a little out of position, just sort of hanging around, but got things going on those final nine holes. They do a really good job of not getting too far ahead of themselves. If they make a mistake, they move on. They don’t dwell on them because that’s when you can shoot a really big number. They just kept plugging along and finally good things happened.”
Alabama and Iowa State are tied for the lead at 14-under, with Kansas a stroke back. Alabama (8-under 280) was the only team in the field to have a better second round than the Buffs.
While CU goes into the final round just three shots out of the top five, it is also just seven shots ahead of 10th-place Southern California.
“It’s going to be really important to focus on our own games, the process and taking it one shot at a time,” Edwards said of the final round. “It’s going to be very important for everyone to do that for 18 holes. When you look at the overall standings, it’s nuts how close this thing is — we’re three out of the last qualifying spot, but also just 10 strokes out of the lead.”
Stanford’s Brandon Wu is the individual leader at 10-under 134. Seven players are within four shots of Wu, while Paul is tied for 10th at 4-under.