STOCKTON, Calif. — Oregon kept racking up birdies — and even a trio of eagles — on Wednesday, and the Colorado men’s golf team couldn’t keep up.
CU’s long quest to return the NCAA championships will continue after it finished seventh in the NCAA West regional at The Reserve at Spanos Park.
With a 2-over 290 in the final round, the Buffs finished the three-day, 54-hole event at 2-under 862, 10 shots behind fifth-place Oregon. The top five teams qualified for the NCAA championships.
The Buffaloes haven’t been to the NCAA finals since 2002, but did record just their second top-seven finish in the regionals since 1995. They were sixth in 2015.
“We’re certainly disappointed with how the season ended, but it was one of the closest teams I’ve ever been around,” CU head coach Roy Edwards said in a press release. “Their work ethic was tremendous and I’ll always look back on this team with great fondness. Even though we didn’t advance, our attitude and competitiveness was representative of our team all year. Our four seniors have left a legacy for the underclassmen about caring about each other, competing and their work ethic.”
Kansas, which came into the week ranked one spot behind CU nationally, at No. 43, won the team title at 20-under 844. Stanford was just one shot back after posting the best team score of the week (11-under) in the final round. Iowa State, Alabama and Oregon rounded out the top five.
CU and Oregon came into the day tied for sixth, but the Ducks quickly made a charge. Their top two players — Norman Xiong and Ryan Gronlund — played the front nine at a combined 10-under par. Both were 6-under for the day.
Xiong won the individual title, at 15-under 201, one stroke better than Stanford’s Brandon Wu.
Senior Yannik Paul led CU with a tie for 12th at 4-under 212. He is just the second Buff to finish in the top 15 at regionals in the last nine years, joining David Oraee, who was runner-up in 2015.
Daniel O’Loughlin was a stroke back of Paul, tying for 16th. Spencer Painton tied for 19th, at 2-under. John Souza finished the three rounds at 10-over and Ross Macdonald was 13-over.
“Rough day,” Edwards said. “We were fighting it again, didn’t play the par-5s on the front very well. We really played those well all year, but we just were a little out of position to score well on those today.
“That said, we were still in a position (to challenge for the last spot) if we had a great back nine. But we were just a little bit off in general. We still competed, still gave ourselves a chance. I know if I would have been told in advance that we’d beat two teams seeded higher than us, I would have said for sure we would have advanced.”
NCAA West Regional
At The Reserve at Spanos Park, Stockton, Calif.
Par 72 – 7,239 yards
Kansas 281-282-281 — 844 (-20)
Stanford 285-283-277 — 845 (-19)
Iowa State 278-284-285 — 847 (-17)
Alabama 282-280-287 — 849 (-15)
Oregon 289-283-280 — 852 (-12)
LSU 293-283-281 — 857 (-7)
Colorado 290-282-290—862 (-2)
TCU 283-286-296 — 865 (+1)
Southern California 295-284-288 — 867 (+3)
UNC Greensboro 293-283-293 — 869 (+5)
UC Irvine 290-293-289 — 872 (+8)
Kennesaw State 292-290-296 — 878 (+14)
North Dakota State 297-295-294 — 886 (+22)
Top 5 individuals
1. Norman Xiong, Oregon, 68-67-66—201 (-15)
2. Brandon Wu, Stanford, 67-67-68—202 (-14)
3(tie). Wilson Furr, Alabama, 73-64-70—207 (-9)
3(tie). Charles Corner, UTEP, 69-69-69—207 (-9)
5(tie). Andy Spencer, Kansas, 69-69-70—208 (-8)
5(tie). Sam Vincent, Iowa State, 69-69-70—208 (-8)
5(tie). Jonathan Hardee, Alabama, 68-73-67—208 (-8)
12(tie). Yannik Paul, 71-69-72—212 (-4)
16(tie). Daniel O’Loughlin, 73-69-71—213 (-3)
19(tie). Spencer Painton, 71-70-73—214 (-2)
67(tie). John Souza, 75-74-77—226 (+10)
72(tie). Ross Macdonald, 75-80-74—229 (+13)