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Golfers Ready For NCAA Championship Run

May 17, 2006

Colorado Regional Notes & Statistics

                MUNSON, Ohio - The University of Colorado men's golf team has completed its preparation for the 18th Annual NCAA Central Regional, as the 27 schools that will participate Thursday through Saturday no doubt will have to navigate through weather issues, which they did in practice rounds that took almost six hours here Wednesday.


                Though the clouds broke for most of the afternoon, the one practice round all competitors have on the 7,173-yard, par-71 Sand Ridge Golf Club course was a wet one.  Daily rains for almost a week have drenched the eight-year old course, located about 30 miles east of Cleveland, and while it is draining as best as it can, casual water still covered almost three-fourths of all the fairways.


                Tournament officials are bracing for every possible scenario, but the objective is to play three full rounds, with the top 10 teams advancing to the NCAA Championship Finals May 31-June 3 in Sunriver, Ore.


                The Buffaloes know they have a lot to prove, and this is the final chance to do it as CU has overcome more than its fair share of adversity this season, including the death of one of college golf's most popular coaches, Mark Simpson, who succumbed to lung cancer last December 5 at the age of 55.  Though he's not here, the players who are can still hear his words of what it meant to make the NCAA field.


                "Coach would have wanted to us to take this seriously, but to play loose and have fun," senior Kenny Coakley said.  "We know there aren't many people who expect much from us in this tournament, but we believe in ourselves and we feel we can go out and play the kind of golf we've played at times this year and that we're capable of."


                "The key here is to be patient, and that is what Mark always told us," senior Edward McGlasson said.  "Patience is so important to championship golf.  You can't be thinking a hole or two ahead, you can't worry about something that may have gone wrong the previous hole.  You have to keep the game right in front of you, think things through, and be aggressive and conservative at the right times.  These are the national championships, and while it is a privilege to be here, we have to have the mindset that we want to and can win it instead of aiming just for a top 10 finish."


                McGlasson, an All-Big 12 Conference performer and CU's Male Athlete of the Year for all sports, and Coakley could be playing in their last college tournament if the Buffs do not advance to the finals.  But the underclassmen backing them up all know they have to come through to get them that one more time representing CU.


                "We've been through a lot this year, and we're a pretty close-knit group," said redshirt freshman Derek Tolan, who was also CU's Male Freshman Athlete of the Year, also for all sports.  "We're playing for a lot here, for the seniors, for ourselves, for the school, and for Coach Simpson.  What we do here will go on his record and we want to make him proud."


                In the 18 years of NCAA regional play, this is the 13th time the Buffaloes have been invited as a team.  CU has advanced to the finals on four occasions, the last time in 2002.


                Junior Ryan Anderson and sophomore Patrick Grady round out the Colorado quintet competing here.  Anderson has blossomed this spring, and Grady is coming off his collegiate career best performance, a fourth place effort at The Maxwell, where he recorded the three best scores as a Buffalo, including a first round 65.


                Colorado is one of the first six schools to tee it up, starting at 5 a.m. MDT Thursday.  To prepare for the radical time change, as the Buffaloes have a 2:30 a.m. MDT wake-up call, the team has stayed off their feet as much as possible and has had plenty of rest with early lights out, such as around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.   CU will then have a more normal regimen, coming back the second round with tee times shortly after Noon on Friday.


                The Buffs are paired with fellow Big 12 rivals Missouri and Nebraska for the first two rounds, with final round pairings Saturday set according to the team standings.  With rain likely to factor in, the possibility of delays, rounds played over two days, a 36-hole cut or a shortened tournament are all things the games committee here will have to consider.


                "We need to get off to a good start," McGlasson said.  "Simpson always told me that in championship golf, your simple goal should be to hit six fairways and six greens on the first six holes, and get that confidence going from a very stable start.  This is the kind of course where you need to do that."


                Associate athletic director David Plati has accompanied the team to Ohio, as the team is basically without a coach since interim coach Brad Neher stepped down on April 21.


                Live scoring for the regional is available at