Golfers 19th After First Round Of NCAA Regional
CHARDON, Ohio - The University of Colorado men's golf team was seeded No. 19 entering the 18th Annual NCAA Central Regional here Thursday, and at the end of a "Dr. Jeykll and Mr. Hyde" day of weather, the Buffs played to their seeding as they are in a four-way tie for 19th after the first of three rounds of the event.
No. 2 ranked Oklahoma State owns a slim one-stroke lead, as the Cowboys recorded a four-under par 280 team score, just ahead of No. 26 Northwestern (281). No. 9 Texas A&M was the only other team to not shoot over par, as the Aggies are in third with an even-par 284.
Colorado is tied for 19th with Kansas State, Missouri and Nebraska with a 22-over par team score of 306. Ironically, all four league rivals were seeded between Nos. 19 and 22, and three, CU, MU and NU were paired together to open the meet and are paired again in Friday's second round on the 7,173-yard, par-71 Sand Ridge Golf Club course.
That tied for the fourth best score among the 12 teams that played early, as conditions Thursday morning were not premium, to say the least. Overnight rains continued to saturate the course, and continued on and off for the duration of the morning round. Combined with a temperature of 50 degrees and winds gusting to 20 miles per hour did not make for optimum scoring opportunities.
The Buffs were one of six teams to go out first Thursday, and were apparently off to a good start, as four of CU's five players scored par (four) on the 401-yard No. 10 hole called "Pulpit," but scored that same count on the next three holes combined. CU turned at 22-over par as a team (15-over among its low four scorers), as the Buffs had two birdies and 22 pars to counter 19 bogeys and two double bogeys.
But Colorado settled down significantly on its second nine, as he weather didn't change until near the end of the round when the rain subsided and the sun started peaking through, though the winds still gusted. The Buffs were just 9-over (plus-7 by the scorers) in racking up nine birdies and 21 pars while lowering its bogey total to 13 (with one double and one triple).
The weather cleared for the 15 high seeds in the afternoon, and though the wind still gusted at times, the conditions in no way came anywhere close to what the 12 teams had to go through in the morning.
How significant was the change in the weather? In the morning, players could not reach the 485-yard, par-4 No. 6 with a driver and a three wood; in the afternoon, seven players managed to birdie the hole while 39 parred it. The 60 golfers in the morning had all of one birdie and 16 pars against 43 scores of bogey or worse in averaging 4.86 strokes for the hole; the 81 in the afternoon the average was 4.41.
Senior Edward McGlasson paved the way for the Buffaloes, recording a 32-41?73 performance; he started on the back nine and was 6-over par through 11 holes, but birdied three of his next five holes to record the low nine hole score of the morning with a 3-under on the front side (which was later matched by four others in the afternoon). He had four birdies and six bogeys on the day, once again avoiding any double bogeys for the 26th time in 36 rounds this season.
McGlasson's effort was the third lowest score in the morning, as only one player in the field bested par, SMU's Colt Knost, who managed a 2-under 70. Tied for 34th overall, McGlasson currently has CU's best chance of advancing to the NCAA Finals individually if the Buffs do not qualify as one of the top 10 finishers here; the top two individuals will also move on.
"Today was one of tougher opening nines of a tournament that I've played in college," McGlasson said. "But championship golf is supposed to be that way, so I expected nothing less. I realized it was playing very hard, and the adverse conditions would lead to some bad breaks. So I just accepted the fact that I would have a bad hole here or there, try to eliminate double bogey, and I knew I would eventually have some opportunities to have things go the other way."
He actually opened with four straight bogeys, the first time all season he had strung together that many in succession, but still had the fortitude to keep things together and bring it back down to just 2-over by the end of the round.
CU's other senior, Kenny Coakley, had three birdies on the day en route to a 37-39?76, or 5-over par, as he had six bogeys and one double and stands tied for 74th. He, too, overcame some unique circumstances, including a ball becoming embedded in a wet footprint in a sand trap that went unraked by a competitor a few groups ahead of him.
"That was the toughest nine holes I've ever played in my life," Coakley said. "You don't play in those conditions most of the time, so instead of dwelling on it being miserable, I tried to challenge myself to enjoy it as best as I could. It is still the national championships."
Redshirt freshman Derek Tolan, who as a 16-year old played in the 2002 U.S. Open on the famous Beth Page Black Course on Long Island knows something about tough courses in tough conditions and was asked if two situations were comparable.
"It's close; I'd put it this way, if that was a 10, this was definitely an eight," he said. "For such a demanding course with weather like that definitely separated the men from the boys. It takes a mixture of talent and heart to gut it out on a day like today. There are a lot of courses where you can will your way around it, but this kind course there is no way you can do that. And this morning, you had to accept everything that was going on and just hang in there."
Tolan had 10 pars and two birdies on his round, but also had some tough luck, losing one drive and have another plug in the wet fairways that led to a double and triple bogey, respectively. All things considered, his 38-40?78 scorecard didn't overly dishearten him, even though he is 105th overall. "I'll take it, because there's no other choice, and focus on improving tomorrow."
Junior Ryan Anderson (37-42?79) and sophomore Patrick Grady (40-39?79) rounded out the scoring for CU, as both are tied for 115th overall. Anderson never got anything going, but managed his game to the point where he never scored higher than bogey, while Grady matched Coakley for the best score on back nine of the course.
Northwestern's Chris Wilson carded a 4-under 67 to own lead four players by one stroke in the race for medalist honors through 18 holes.
Only two of the holes played to under par, both par fives and just barely at that, as the average score for the 141 players in the field was 75.40, or plus-4.40 to par.
The second round is set for Friday, with the Buffs scheduled to tee off at 10:12 a.m. MDT. The final round on Saturday, as the low 10 teams will advance to the NCAA Championship Finals in Sunriver, Ore., May 31-June 3.
T34. Edward McGlasson............. 32-41?73
T74. Kenny Coakley................ 37-39?76
T105. Derek Tolan.................. 38-40?78
T115. Ryan Anderson................ 37-42?79
T115. Patrick Grady................ 40-39?79
TOP FIVE INDIVIDUALS
1. Chris Wilson, Northwestern..... 34-33?67
2. Bobby Bennett, Purdue.......... 36-32?68
2. Bronson Burgoon, Texas A & M... 35-33?68
2. David Merkow, Northwestern..... 35-33?68
2. Andrew Parr, Texas A & M....... 35-33?68
1. Oklahoma State....... 280
2. Northwestern......... 281
3. Texas A & M.......... 284
4. Duke................. 286
4. Lamar................ 286
6. Kentucky............. 291
6. Minnesota............ 291
6. Purdue............... 291
6. Texas................ 291
10. Oklahoma............. 292
11. TCU.................. 293
12. SMU.................. 294
13. Georgia Tech......... 295
14. Clemson.............. 296
14. Kent State........... 296
16. Tulsa................ 297
17. Texas-Arlington...... 298
18. Siena................ 302
19. COLORADO............. 306
19. Kansas State......... 306
19. Missouri............. 306
19. Nebraska............. 306
23. Xavier............... 307
24. Eastern Kentucky..... 309
25. Cleveland State...... 318
26. Princeton............ 323
27. St. Francis.......... 324