If the Colorado men’s golf team still wants to make noise in its first NCAA championship appearance in 21 years, it will require a come-from-behind effort.
It was a frustrating opening round for the Buffaloes on Friday at the Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
After securing the first NCAA berth in 21 years with a team-wide effort in the final round of the Central Regional last week — four of the Buffs’ five golfers finished under par, and the other was even — it was a much different story on Friday. None of CU’s five players was able to save par, leaving the Buffs in the bottom third of the 30-team field with a 12-over par 292 heading into Saturday’s second round.
The Buffs’ highest-scoring round at the regional last week was a 284. It was a tough day all-around at Grayhawk, as round one leader Georgia Tech finished with an even-par 280 while the remaining 29 teams finished over par. CU finished the day tied for 23rd with a 12-over 292.
Dylan McDermott carded CU’s top score, finishing with a 1-over 71. It was a steady effort for CU’s top scorer this season, with McDermott balancing a pair of birdies against three bogeys.
Hunter Swanson suffered a bogey on No. 16 and a double bogey on No. 18 to finish with a 2-over 72. Justin Biwer finished at plus-3 73. Tucker Clark, whose 67 in the second round of the Central Regional was critical in CU’s third-place finish, struggled to a plus-10 80.
“I thought we were a little nervy early but settled in,” CU head coach Roy Edwards said in a release. “We had a tough stretch on holes 15 through 17, and then 18 was just brutal. As we have done all year, the guys kept battling and hung in there really well. Justin made a great putt on eight, Dylan chipped one in and Hunter closed with a birdie. We have to just stay patient and play our games. (Saturday) afternoon will be tough conditions, but I expect us to play well.”
After an early tee time on Friday, the Buffs will begin round two on Saturday at 2:20 p.m. MT with work to do to keep their postseason alive. Following Sunday’s third round, the field will be cut to 15 teams, plus the top nine individuals not on those teams, for the fourth and final round of stroke play. After that, the field is cut to eight teams that advance to the final rounds of match play on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Heading into the second round, just three strokes but seven teams stand between the Buffs and the early projected cut line.