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.
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.
It was the back nine that proved most troublesome to the bulk of CU’s lineup.
Hunter Swanson was at 1-under going into the final three holes but struggled down the stretch, suffering a bogey on No. 16 and a double bogey on No. 18 to finish with a 2-over 72. Justin Biwer was even going into No. 12 but recorded three bogeys without a birdie the rest of the way to finish at plus-3 73. And Jack Holland’s round (plus-6, 76) featured five bogeys and no birdies over the final 11 holes.
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.
After an early tee time on Friday, the Buffs will begin round two on Saturday at 2:20 p.m. 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.
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