TEMPE, Ariz. — The University of Colorado men's golf team saw its top player shine but the rest not so much as the Buffaloes stand 12th after two rounds of Arizona State's Thunderbird Invitational, both of which were completed here Saturday.
CU senior Yannik Paul and UNLV's Shintaro Ban are tied for the individual lead with 9-under par 133 scores with Sunday's final round ahead of them.
Host and No. 25 Arizona State along with No. 27 UNLV are tied for the lead after both ended the 36-hole first day with 18-under 550 scores; both scored rounds of 274 and 276 to get to that total, except in reverse order. No. 3 Oklahoma is in third at 553, moving up three spots through one round after firing the day's best score (13-under 271) the second time around the course. No. 11 Baylor (557) and No. 32 Arizona (562) complete the top five.
The No. 43 Buffaloes, co-leader Paul aside, had their struggles all day; in eighth after the first round with a 3-over 287 score, CU started strong in the second round, moving to as much as 7-under par early on. But a six-hole span (Nos. 16-18 and then Nos. 1-3) saw the Buff scorers go 12-over par, and then all finished the day with bogeys on the tough par-4 No. 9 hole. The end result was a 7-over 291 for a 578 (plus-10) score and a slide into 12th.
Paul easily had the most success of all the Buffs on the 7,032-yard, par-71 Karsten Golf Course blueprint, turning in rounds of 67 and 66 as he recorded a team-high 12 birdies, 21 pars and just three bogeys Saturday. His dozen birdies tied him for third in the 85-man field, and he was near the top in scoring on all hole configurations (5-under on the par-5s, tied for fifth; 4-under on the par-4s, tied for third and even on the par-3s, tied for sixth).
Paul took over the team lead in rounds in the 60s with 10, tied for the third-most in a single-season in school history, and he now has 31 for his career, second on that all-time list. And now with 65 career rounds of par or better, he passed Philip Juel-Berg (64) into second on that CU career list, trailing only his older twin, Jeremy, who had 74.
Sophomore Daniel O'Loughlin is tied for 52nd, as he logged a 73-74—147 (5-over) into the books; he had four birdies and 26 pars on his day, the latter tied for third-most in the field.
Senior John Souza is tied for 59th with a 75-73—148 scorecard (plus-6), scoring the Buffs' lone eagle in the first two rounds. He managed just two birdies otherwise, but did have 24 pars (11th-most).
Freshman Trevor Olkowski opened fairly strong with a 1-over 72, but had some afternoon troubles with a 7-over 78 that landed him in a tie for 69th at the end of the day (8-over 150). He had four birdies and 23 pars, and was largely undone by two holes late in his day, a triple bogey on No. 3 and then a double on No. 6, part of his final seven holes at 6-over.
Senior Spencer Painton rounded out the CU contingent, as he is tied for 75th after fashioning a 75-78—153 score. He wasn't a victim of any real big numbers (just one double bogey), he only had two birdies and 22 pars, the latter a fairly low count for someone who has been the team leader in that category the last two seasons.
"Yannik played really well … he looked good throughout the day," CU head coach Roy Edwards said. "But other than that, however, we didn't play well and weren't very competitive which is typically a strength of ours. I expect a group that will be focused and ready to go tomorrow."
Paul and Ban will have plenty of others chasing them for medalist honors, with two players just a stroke behind and a dozen players in all within six strokes of the lead.
The third and final round is set for Sunday morning, the final competitive tune-up ahead of the Pac-12 Championships, which will be April 23-25 in Los Angeles. The Buffs will be paired with Denver and will tee off on No. 10 at 8:33 a.m. MDT.
PAPAGO INDIVIDUAL TOURNAMENT: Most teams brought additional players, including the Buffaloes, to compete in the ASU Individual Invitational, a "companion" event in Phoenix at the Papago Golf Course (7,316 yards; par-71).
Sophomore Ross Macdonald is tied for seventh after recording a 1-under 71-72—143 scorecard, while freshman Cole Krantz is tied for 23rd after posting a 76-74—150 effort (8-over); in all, 35 players are competing crosstown from their full teams. Macdonald has played the par-5s at 4-under, tied for second-best in the field (he had an eagle, six birdies and 20 pars on his day), while Krantz' is tied for the second-most pars with 25.
Oklahoma State's Nick Heinen is the leader with a 4-under 138 (70-68); that's good for a one-stroke lead over Oklahoma's Rylee Reinertson. Just four players are under par with two others even.
"We (the coaches) didn't see them as we were both in Tempe, but it seemed Ross had a solid day and Cole a nice round in the afternoon," Edwards said. "This is a unique event as many schools had the opportunity to bring several individuals to compete simultaneously in a separate tournament, very valuable with the Pac-12 Championships approaching."
NOTES: The average score for the first two rounds was 72.51 (72.41 for the first, 72.60 in the second) … Colorado had the second-most pars (116) but were 14th in birdies (24), half of the latter coming from Paul.