CU men’s golf team finishes 12th at Thunderbird Invitational

PHOENIX — The Colorado men’s golf team did not have the final round it was looking to achieve at the Arizona State Thunderbird Invitational, slipping one spot into a 12th place finish on Saturday.

Second-ranked and host Arizona State led from start to finish, posting a 20-under par team score of 832, which easily outdistanced No. 7 Texas by 12 shots. UCLA was third, Oklahoma State was fourth and North Carolina State round out the top five teams.

The Buffaloes, ranked No. 76 nationally, were 11th after two rounds but were in striking distance of improving their standing in a field with five top 25 and nine top 40 teams competing. Instead, the opposite occurred, as CU recorded the high score in the final round — a 10-over 294 — to finish with a 22-over 874 total and ahead of only Utah in the end.

Freshman Kristoffer Max shot a final round 1-under par 70 to finish tied for 37th with a 4-over 217 on the 7,333-yard, par-71 Papago Golf Course layout. It was the first time this season he posted the best overall score by a Buffalo to lead the team in an event, and the first time a freshman has done so since the fall of 2016, when Morton Hansen paced the CU attack on two occasions.

Junior Daniel O’Loughlin fashioned a final round 3-over 74, as he tied for 41st overall with a 5-over 218 total for 54 holes. Freshman John Paterson shot a 4-over 76 to finish with a 9-over 222 total, which tied him 56th.

Junior Ross Macdonald closed things out with a 3-over 74, which gave him a 10-over 223 total that tied him for 59th place. He had a birdie and 14 pars against two bogeys and a double, the latter coming on his eighth hole (No. 17) of the day; he parred 10 of his final 11 holes.

Sophomore Trevor Olkowski struggled in the final round, as he endured three bogeys and two triples (back-to-back) that led to an 80; that put him at 13-over 223 for the tournament, tying him for 67th. He had no holes under par for the first time in 33 rounds this season, though the second time without a birdie; he had an eagle in the second round in New Mexico’s Tucker Invitational. He matched O’Loughlin with a four birdies and a team-high 38 pars this weekend.

“Kristoffer had a nice round today,” head coach Roy Edwards said. “Otherwise, I thought we competed but just didn’t have our best. It was a frustrating week overall as we were close to having a good tournament. Top to bottom this is the most challenging event we play in all year and it was a good opportunity. The guys have really been working hard and we are confident it is going to pay off in a big way soon.

Arizona State’s Chun An Yu maintained his second round lead in going on to win medalist honors, finishing with a 2-under 68 for a 12-under 201 score. That bested Texas’ Cole Hammer by four shots, who closed with a 67.

This was CU’s tune-up ahead of the Pac-12 Championships later this month, which are set for April 22-24 in Eugene, Oregon.