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Apr 26, 2004

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HUTCHINSON, Kan. - The University of Colorado men's golf team stands in a seventh place tie after the first two rounds of the 8th Annual Big 12 Conference Championship, as the Buffaloes suffered the pains from four of its five players seeing a tough course for the first time in their careers.


Colorado came in ranked No. 29 (GCAA), No. 31 (Golfweek) and No. 32 (GolfStat), as the Buffaloes are one of nine consensus top 50 teams participating here.   But the two top 10 teams lead the pack at the end of 36 holes, as No. 7 Oklahoma State and No. 9 Texas are tied for the lead with 577 team scores, or 17-over par.  Kansas State, this year's host, is two back at 579, with No. 20 Oklahoma in fourth at 587.  The Buffs are tied with Baylor for seventh place with 596 totals.


CU is being paced by sophomore Edward McGlasson, who is tied for 14th after recording a 73-74?147 effort on the 6,598-yard, par-70 Prairie Dunes Country Club layout.  McGlasson played the most steady of all the Buffaloes, as he was the lone CU player not to record at least one double bogey, as he scored three birdies, 23 pars and 10 bogeys for the day.


Another Buff sophomore, Kenny Coakley, was fairly consistent as he turned in a pair of 74s for a 148 total, good for a 17th-place tie.  He had two birdies, 25 pars, 8 bogeys and one double.


Senior captain Kane Webber, one of the pre-tournament favorites for medalist honors, suffered from the effects of cold he hasn't been able to shake for a couple of weeks.  Webber also had three birdies and 23 pars like McGlasson, but had to count a triple bogey in his morning round and a double in the afternoon on his way to a 73-77?150; that has him back in the field, tied for 30th place entering the last round, though he's only five strokes out of the top 10. 


CU's other senior captain, Jeff Hanson is tied for 36th after a 75-76?151 performance (three birdies, 20 pars, 12 bogeys, one double) and sophomore Blake Moore is tied for 47th with a 75-79?154 scorecard (two birdies, 21 pars, 10 bogeys, three doubles).


Only two players are under par, as Texas' Jason Hartwick owns the lead after a 70-66?136 effort (4-under), with Oklahoma State's Alex Noren two back at 71-68?139.  There was only one other round in the 60s (a 69 by Kansas State's A.J. Elgert), as 110 of the 120 scores posted Monday were over par on the tough Prairie Dunes layout.


While it was sunny and temperatures for the most part in the upper 60s, the winds would whip up at times with gusts anywhere between 15 and 25 miles per hour, conditions CU usually thrives in.


Colorado was tied for sixth after the morning 18 holes, as Texas stood atop the leader board with a 7-over-par 287 total; Kansas State followed at 290, then Kansas (291), Oklahoma State (292), Texas Tech (294) and Colorado and Oklahoma (295).  Though only good for sixth, it marked the third best opening round score the Buffs ever posted in 13 conference championship meets at Prairie Dunes, dating back to the 1987 Big 8 meet. 


All five Buffaloes recorded rounds between 3- and 5-over par to open the tournament, with Webber and McGlasson leading the way with a pair of 73s.  Webber was in trouble early, as a triple bogey on No. 13 (his fourth hole), served as a catalyst to starting 4-over after six holes; however he would settle down and play the last 12 at 1-under to get things back in control.  Coakley was 3-over after four holes but got things together as well, playing his last 15 at 1-over for a 74.  Moore opened with nine straight pars before struggling on the front side, with a double bogey marring his second nine en route to a 75.  Hanson also recorded an opening 75, as he had the most non-pars on his scorecard by a Buff with seven bogeys and two birdies. 


"It was Prairie Dunes," said CU head coach Mark Simpson.  "The wind was blowing, the greens are nasty and the rough is high.  We basically had four guys who haven't seen it before, and you can tell them all about it, but you have to play it, experience it, learn what you can and cannot do here.  This isn't just any old golf course, and the bottom line is that it's hard to be prepared like they needed to be for Prairie Dunes, but they'll learn.  Hopefully they'll respond in the final round Tuesday." 


Webber is the one player who has seen it, as he's played it three times and has usually done fairly well.  "Kane is sick," Simpson said.  "He's not admitting that he's sick, but he can barely talk, he's lethargic, it's obvious that he doesn't have the energy he usually has.  He just needs to get some extended rest.  He put a lot of pressure on himself and just wasn't on his game, but he gutted it out." 


The average score for the 60 golfers here in the morning was 74.92, while rising to 75.12 in the afternoon as both averaged about five strokes over par.  Sixteen holes played to over par for both rounds combined.  CU started the day on No. 10, but played the second round off of No. 1.


One obstacle Colorado did overcome Monday was historical trouble on No. 16 at Prairie Dunes.  Back in 2001, when CU finished fourth, 11 strokes out of the lead, the Buffs had to count a quadruple bogey, two doubles and a bogey, or a total of nine extra strokes from the 415-yard, par-4 hole that always plays into prevailing winds from the south with a green flanked by bunkers and wiry high grasses.  Both times around the circuit, all five CU players parred the hole, the third best hole combined for the team. 


The Buffs played the front at 30-over and the back at 20-over for the two rounds, but were only under par on No. 17 (-4, a par-5) and on No. 5 (-1, a par-4). 


"Obviously, being 19 down, it would take a tremendous climb to rally to win this," Simpson concluded.  "But on this kind of a course, often just one team can get things going and shoot up the standings.  So we're going to take the approach that we're not out of it, and we do have a chance to beat Oklahoma and Kansas that would be important for seedings when it comes to the NCAA Championships.  This is a tune-up for the NCAA's, and that has been our focus all year.  So we can still take care of some business here."


The final round will be played beginning at 7:00 a.m. MDT Tuesday morning.


Buffalo Individuals

T14. Edward McGlasson.... 73-74--147

T17. Kenny Coakley....... 74-74--148

T30. Kane Webber......... 73-77--150

T36. Jeff Hanson......... 75-76--151

T47. Blake Moore......... 75-79--154


Team Scores

 1. Oklahoma State..... 292-285--577

 2. Texas.............. 287-290--577

 3. Kansas State....... 290-289--579

 4. Oklahoma........... 295-292--587

 5. Kansas............. 291-301--592

 6. Iowa State......... 296-298--594

 7. COLORADO........... 295-301--596

 7. Baylor............. 299-297--596

 9. Texas Tech......... 294-303--597

10. Missouri........... 299-301--600

11. Texas A & M........ 304-305--609

12. Nebraska........... 314-299--613