ERIE — The University of Colorado men’s golf team battled back from a poor showing a week ago and ended Monday in the lead after two rounds of the school’s own Mark Simpson-CU Invitational.
The Buffaloes used the best team score in the afternoon after the winds accelerated to take a three stroke lead over Pac-12 conference rival Utah. The Buffs are in at 8-under par 568 through 36 holes, while the Utes are in at 5-under 571. The two pulled away from the rest of the 16-team field a bit, as CSU-Fullerton (582), Houston Baptist (586) and Grand Canyon (588) round out the top five.
Colorado and Utah were tied for the lead after the first round, recording 9-under 279 scores; only Utah Valley was also under par (2-under 286), as those were the only three rounds out of 32 on the day that were not at par or higher.
Junior Daniel O’Loughlin and sophomore Trevor Olkowski both are in at 5-under par 139 scores, two of five players in red numbers after 36 holes on the 7,703-yard, par-72 Colorado National Golf Club layout. The CU duo is tied with Utah’s Kyler Dunkle for the individual lead.
Dunkle is trying to win his second straight tournament after claiming Utah’s Showdown in the Rockies last week, and is also the defending champion here as he is attempting to become the first repeat titlist in the Simpson. He turned in rounds of 66 and 73 for his 5-under performance Monday; he won by two strokes last year with a 14-under 202 score.
Both Buffs arrived at their scores in the same fashion — putting 4-under 68s in the books for the a.m. round, and following up with 1-under 71s in the afternoon, which tied for the fourth-best second round scores around the CNGC track. O’Loughlin had a team-high 10 birdies, tied for second-most in the field, while Olkowski had seven birdies and 27 pars, the latter second-most among the 96 golfers competing here.
“I thought it was really good today, and was really pleased with the team’s response after last week,” CU head coach Roy Edwards said in referring to the Buffs’ eighth place finish in Utah’s tournament. “I thought we played solid all day long as a team in general, and the guys playing as individuals had some good rounds.
“The wind ratcheted up early in the second round, really picked up and started blowing up to 30 miles per hour from the west,” Edwards added. “It was a little windy in the morning, but not crazy, and once it was magnified it stayed that way the rest of the afternoon. So most of the scores were higher, but that’s also what made our afternoon score a very good round.”