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Men’s golf: Stellar final day at Central Regional sends CU Buffs to NCAA championship


For the first time in 21 years, the Colorado men’s golf team is headed to the NCAA championships.

Behind a stellar team-wide effort during Wednesday’s third and final round, the Buffaloes finished in third at the NCAA Central Regional in Norman, Okla. The top five teams advanced to the national championship, which begin on May 26 in Scottsdale, Ariz. It will be CU’s first appearance as a team since 2002.

The Buffs finished with a three-round team score of 841, collectively finishing 23 strokes below par at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club. Colorado finished two strokes behind second-place Oklahoma and one ahead of Texas Tech. Alabama won the team title with an 836.

“I’m incredibly proud of the team, especially since this was probably the closest regional from first to sixth place that I’ve ever seen,” CU head coach Roy Edwards said in a release. “I have so many positive and proud things I have to say about the team.  We went to a southern golf course hosted by a southern school, with mostly southern teams. It says a lot about the team’s overall competitiveness and their fight.

None of CU’s five golfers finished above par during the final round on Wednesday, with Jack Holland leading the way with a 5-under 67. Hunter Swanson posted a 3-under 69, while Justin Biwer and Dylan McDermott, bouncing back from a frustrating second round, both finished at 2-under 70.

Holland carded six birdies against just one bogey on Wednesday.

Overall, Swanson was CU’s top finisher at the regional, placing in a tie for 11th with a three-round score of 6-under 210. Holland and Biwer were only a stroke back at 211, while McDermott rallied into a tie for 39th at an even-par 216. Tucker Clark, whose stellar score of 67 in the second round kept the Buffs firmly entrenched in the top five of the team standings, recorded an even-par 72 on Wednesday and also finished in a tie for 39th at 216.

Texas Tech’s Ludvig Aberg won the regional title, posting a 5-under 67 on Wednesday and finishing with a 14-under 202 overall, edging Oklahoma’s Drew Goodman by one stroke.

Less than a month ago, the Buffs finished a disappointing 11th in BYU’s Cougar Classic. But in the weeks since, Colorado spent all four rounds in the top three at the Pac-12 Championship before finishing third, and the Buffs were never out of the top five at the regional from the start.

“BYU was interesting because we didn’t play well at all,” Edwards recalled.  “It wasn’t because of a lack of effort, and everyone’s attitudes were good. But the last six or seven weeks, everybody was dedicated to really working on their short games, and it paid off at (the Pac-12 tournament) and was really the difference this week. It was not a fluke that we beat some really good teams and nearly won the tournament.

“Down the stretch was unbelievable, a lot of fireworks but a lot of great golf — it was nuts — Duke and North Florida were chipping in and making long putts, but we were making putts too.”

NCAA Central Regional

Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club (par 72)

Round 3 (May 17)

Team standings (Three round score) — Alabama 836, Oklahoma 839, Colorado 841, Texas Tech 842, Duke 843, North Florida 844, Wake Forest 854, LSU 855, Kansas 858, Ole Miss 859, UNC-Wilmington 863, Princeton 869, Louisiana 847, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 926.

Colorado individual results

T-11. Hunter Swanson 69-72-69 — 210 (-6)

T-16. Jack Holland 73-71-67 — 211 (-5)

T-16. Justin Biwer  70-71-70 — 211 (-5)

T-39. Dylan McDermott 72-74-70 — 216 (E)

T-39. Tucker Clark 77-67-72 — 216 (E)