CU golfers improve play, still finish 8th at the Showdown in the Rockies

DRIGGS, Idaho — The University of Colorado men’s golf team rebounded from a poor second round to shoot an even-par score in the final 18 holes, but it wasn’t enough to propel the Buffaloes up the standings as they finished eighth Tuesday in the University of Utah’s Showdown in the Rockies.

Host Utah pulled away from the field in claiming the team title with an 842 team score, or 22-under par. The Utes turned in the best round of the event with a 14-under 274 in Tuesday’s final action, leaving Oregon State and Texas Tech in their dust, as the two tied for second at 8-under 856. St. Mary’s (Calif.) finished fourth (857) with Arizona rounding out the top five (860).

The Buffs opened with an even-par 288 and closed with the same score on Tuesday, but it was Monday’s second round 304 that did them in. All 16 strokes over par for the tournament can be traced to that round as CU finished with an 880-team score.

Junior Ross Macdonald finished here by firing what turned out to be tied for the low round of the day, a 5-over 67, enabling him to move up 22 spots in the standings into a tie for 17th with a 2-over par 218 score. He was one of 10 players to shoot a score in the 60s Tuesday on the 7,613-yard, par-72 Huntsman Springs Golf Course configuration, doing so with six birdies and 11 pars against just a single bogey (including a 32 on the back nine). He had 10 birdies and 33 pars over the course of the three rounds.

“Ross had a good round today and a decent overall finish but, other than that, it wasn’t very good,” CU head coach Roy Edwards said. “Generally a poor week for the team, but we did compete well today which is a good sign. We do bounce back to play pretty much immediately so it is important to learn a few things and then move on to the Simpson (CU’s own invitational on Monday).”

Junior Daniel O’Loughlin didn’t match his opening effort of the season when he posted his first collegiate win in Air Force’s Gene Miranda Invitational, but still tied for 21st here while not playing his best. He finished with a 2-over 74 for a 3-over 219 overall, as he had one birdie and 14 pars against three bogeys.

Sophomore Cole Krantz also fashioned a final round 2-over 74, which gave him a 6-over 222 that tied him for 32nd. He had a team-high 13 birdies, a number that also tied for seventh-most in the 96-man field.

And one back of Krantz was sophomore Trevor Olkowski, who wrapped things up here with a 1-over 73 for a 7-over 223 total, which tied him for 35th. He had three birdies and 12 pars, the latter giving him 39 for the event which led all players, and also played the par-3 holes at 1-under, tied for fifth in the field.

Junior Victor Bjorlow had his struggles here, closing with a 9-over 81, just his third score in the 80s in 52 collegiate rounds; he tied for 52nd with a 17-over 233. He did have seven birdies and 30 pars, but six holes worse than bogey added to 13 of his 17 strokes over par.

Freshman Kris Max competed as an individual (his score did not count toward the CU team total), closing out the event with a 21-over 237 after posting a 7-over 79 Tuesday. He had opened with an 85 but shaved 12 strokes off that score in the second round with a 1-over 73, but landed in the middle of those in the end, as a 7-over 79 for a 21-over 27, which placed him 58th.

Utah’s Kyler Dunkle led from wire-to-wire in picking up medalist honors with a 13-under 203. He held off Arizona’s David Laskin, who finished two back at 205; both finished with 5-under par 67s.

Colorado returns to action on Monday and Tuesday in the 9th Annual Mark Simpson-CU Invitational; 16 teams are set to participate in the event, which will take place at Colorado National Golf Club in Erie. Two rounds will be played on Monday with the final 18 on Tuesday.