Hunter Swanson, CU Buffs golf ready for NCAA championships | Golf

Hunter Swanson was excited to do his part for the CU Buffs men’s golf team.

The Northfield High grad and CU freshman was a key part of the Buffs qualifying for the NCAA championship finals for the first time since the 2001-02 season. The tournament begins Friday at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“First time since 2001,” Swanson told The Denver Gazette. “It was exciting to be a small part of that. I am going to the natty as a freshman.”

Swanson sunk a birdie on the ninth hole, his final hole of the day, in the final round of the Norman (Okla.) regional to secure the Buffs’ spot in the NCAA finals. The freshman fired a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 11th. Colorado finished third as a team with a score of 23-under in the three-day event. The Buffs were only five shots off the top spot. 

“You can’t even imagine the happiness I was feeling when I hit that putt,” Swanson said. “To be part of this team experience is so exciting. I am super excited.”

But Swanson was not the only young Buff to make contributions at regionals and throughout this resurgent season for Colorado. Sophomore Justin Biwer, who finished 16th, made a key birdie on the eighth hole of the final round.

“We are an underdog” Biwer said about the NCAAs. “We are out here to prove that we belong with these other teams.”

Sophomore Jack Holland finished the final round with a 67, the team’s lowest score of the final round. Sophomores Tucker Clark and Dylan McDermott both finished in a tie for 39th. McDermott was named Pac-12 golfer of the week twice this season. 

“The play we got from everybody was outstanding,” CU coach Roy Edwards said. “We were a little inconsistent early in the year, but we are playing our best when it matters.” 

Swanson heads to Arizona after losing Tuesday in the quarterfinals of U.S. Amateur Four-Ball in Kiawah Island, S.C. Swanson teamed up with Colorado School of Mines golfer and Lakewood High grad Max Lange at the event. Lange made the first hole-in-one since 2018 in the tournament.

Swanson had a decorated career at Northfield as well. He tied for second at the CHSAA state tournament as a sophomore. He also finished sixth twice. He was the first Northfield golfer to be a four-time all-state first-teamer. Swanson didn’t play in the state tournament as a senior because he missed regionals due to playing in the PURE Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

The Buffs, who are ranked 48th in the nation by GolfStat, are one of four Pac-12 teams to make the finals. No. 4 Arizona State, No. 6 Stanford and No. 19 Oregon are also in Scottsdale.

“This is right where we want to be,” Edwards said. 

The CSU Rams will be joining the Buffs in Scottsdale to compete for the NCAA crown. The Rams have not been to the national tournament since 2011.

Christoph Bleier, who was the co-medalist at the Auburn (Ala.) regional, and Connor Jones’ third-place finish powered the Rams to a spot.

CSU athletics did not reply to an interview request.

The format for the tournament is 72-hole stroke play starting Friday with the top eight teams advancing to the match-play tournament. The quarterfinals and semifinals are Tuesday while the championship is Wednesday. Golf Channel will have coverage Monday-Wednesday starting at 2 p.m. Texas is the defending champion.


Local Links

Two locals set to compete in Senior PGA Championship

Colorado will be represented at the Senior PGA Championship, which begins Thursday at Fields Ranch East in Frisco, Texas.

Matt Schalk, who is the general manager at Coloado National Golf Club, and long-time Colorado Springs resident Dave Arbuckle will compete in the championship.

Schalk tried to qualify for the PGA Championship last month but fell just short. He will now have a chance at the Senior PGA.


This week in golf



When: Thursday-Sunday

Site: Colonial CC – Fort Worth, Texas

Defending champ: Sam Burns

Purse: $8.7 million

TV: Thursday-Friday, 2-5 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Golf Channel), 1-4 p.m. (CBS)



When: Thursday-Sunday

Site: Fields Ranch East – Frisco, Texas

Defending champ: Steve Alker

Purse: $3.5 million

TV: Thursday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (NBC); Sunday, 1-2 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2-4 p.m. (NBC)



When: Wednesday-Sunday

Site: Shadow Creek GC – Las Vegas

Defending champ: Eun-Hee Ji

Purse: $1.5 million

TV: Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); Thursday-Friday, 5-8 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 3:30-6:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); Sunday, 4:30-5:30 p.m. (Golf Channel)



When: Friday-Sunday

Site: Trump National – Sterling, Va.

Defending champ: New event

Purse: $20 million

TV: Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (The CW app); Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (The CW)

DP World


When: Thursday-Sunday

Site: Bernardus Golf – Cromvoirt, The Netherlands

Defending champ: Victor Perez

Purse: $2 million

TV: Thursday-Friday, 5:30-10:30 a.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 5:30-10 a.m. (Golf Channel)

Korn Ferry Tour


When: Thursday-Sunday

Site: Holston Hills CC – Knoxville, Tenn.

Defending champ: Anders Albertson

Purse: $1 million

TV: None


Skins game

Odds to win Charles Schwab Challenge

Scottie Scheffler +450

Jordan Spieth +1400

Tony Fianu +1400

Viktor Hovland +1600

Collin Morikawa +1800

—Odds from SuperBook Colorado


World Golf Rankings

Player, points

1. Scottie Scheffler, 10.96

2. Jon Rahm, 10.56

3. Rory McIlroy, 8.32

4. Patrick Cantlay, 7.45

5. Xander Schauffele, 6.50

6. Viktor Hovland, 5.58

7. Max Homa, 5.54

8. Cameron Smith, 5.43

9. Matt Fitzpatrick, 5.28

10. Will Zalatoris, 4.98

Ryder Cup standings

United States

Captain: Zach Johnson

Player, points

1. Scottie Scheffler, 20,235.923

2. Brooks Koepka, 8,936.357

3. Max Homa, 7,314.210

4. Xander Schauffele, 7,292.552

5. Patrick Cantlay, 6,871.150

6. Cameron Young, 6,629.486

7. Jordan Spieth, 6,527.296

8. Sam Burns, 5,995.926

9. Justin Thomas, 5,821.875

10. Colin Morikawa, 5,784.995

11. Kurt Kitayama, 5,641.725

12. Will Zalatoris, 5,529.134

Note: The U.S. team will be made up from the top six eligible players in the points rankings with six captain’s picks.


Captain: Luke Donald

European points

1. Jon Rahm, 2,910.53

2. Rory McIlroy, 2,354.2

3. Victor Perez, 1,427.58

4. Yannik Paul, 1,401.14

5. Adrian Meronk, 1,332.97

6. Shane Lowery, 1,149.56

World points

1. Jon Rahm, 332.85

2. Rory McIlroy, 195.39

3. Viktor Hovland, 173.88

4. Tyrell Hatton, 155.66

5. Matt Firzpatrick, 128.47

6. Tommy Fleetwood, 92.35

Note: The European team will be made up from the top three eligible players from the European points list, the top three eligible players from the World Points list and six captain’s picks.