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Men's Golf To Host 9th Stevinson Ranch Invite

Mar 23, 2007

          BOULDER--The University of Colorado men's golf team is hitting the stretch in its preparation for April's Big 12 Championships, as just two tournaments remain for the Buffaloes to hit their stride as the spring season marches forward.

          CU will head to California Saturday morning and hosts its own Stevinson Ranch Invitational this coming Monday and Tuesday (March 26-27).  Stevinson is located in the heart of California, about two hours from the Bay Area and also a couple of hours drive from Fresno. 

          Notes on both the 2006-07 Buffaloes as well as the tournament:

QUICKLY  Colorado will host and participate in the ninth annual CU-Stevinson Ranch Invitational, set for March 26-27 in Stevinson, located in central California (south of Turlock in the heart of the state)... It's the fourth competition of the spring season for the Buffaloes, who will have one other major tournament prior to the Big 12 Championships next month at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson, Kan. (CU will host the Fowler Cup, a one-day Alumni competition, on April 13 at a course yet to be determined).  

THE COACH  In his first season as Colorado head coach is Roy Edwards (Kansas '00), who was named just the third full-time coach in program history on July 14, 2007.  The 30-year old Kansas native came to CU with an impressive pedigree, joining the Buffaloes from his alma mater, the University of Kansas, where he had served as the assistant for both the men's and women's programs the 2002-03 through 2005-06 seasons.  He held the same position at Vanderbilt University for a year prior to returning to KU.   He was one of three finalists for the 2004 Golf Coaches Association of America Assistant Coach of the Year.  At Kansas, he helped coach six first-team All-Big 12 players (five men, one woman) and four Academic All-Americans.  He started his coaching career as a volunteer/graduate assistant in 1998, working three years in that capacity before moving on to Vanderbilt for his first full-time assistant coaching position.  During this time, he was also the Junior Golf Director for the Kansas Golf Association, running all activities for over 600 junior members of the KGA.  Between KU and Vanderbilt, he coached five players who attained some level of All-American status, ranging from first-team to honorable mention.  A three-year member of the Jayhawk golf team, he lettered as a senior under legendary and long-time coach Ross Randall and earned his bachelor's of science degree in business administration from Kansas in 2000.  His career playing highlights include being named the PGA Midwest Section Player of the Year in 1995 and the Heart of America Four-Ball champion in 1997. 

CU-STEVINSON CONNECTION  The Buffaloes have a solid tie-in to the Stevinson Ranch facility.  George Kelley, the founder and owner of Stevinson Ranch, lettered in golf at Colorado in the early 1970s and is friends with Simpson, who also happened to letter on the links the same decade.  Kelley is one of just 26 Buffaloes to have earned medalist honors in major tournament play, winning the Galveston Island Intercollegiate during the '72-73 school year, and led the team in stroke average the '72-73 season (74.00 for 16 rounds).


THE ROSTER   Edwards is taking his entire active team to California (eight players), as five will officially count toward CU's team score and three will compete individually.  Senior captains Ryan Anderson and Blake Moore, juniors Michael Baird and Patrick Grady and sophomore Derek Tolan will have their scores count toward the Buff team total, while juniors Tom Gempel and Jim Grady and freshman  Luke Symons will play as individuals.  Baird is CU's highest ranked golfer nationally (No. 116 by Golfweek).


CU SEASON AT-A-GLANCE  Colorado has played in eight tournaments this year; six are currently ranked between the 21st and the 38th toughest out of 183 meets to date according to Golfweek.  The toughest two were the Hawai'i-Hilo Intercollegiate and The Prestige At PGA West, ranked Nos. 21 and 23, respectively; the "easiest" was the season opener, the Rich Harvest Farms Invitational, ranked No. 54 (though that course may have been set the hardest of any of the eight competitions CU has entered in 2006-07).  CU has seven top 10 finishes, including three top five to date, topped by a pair of fourth place efforts (Rich Harvest and Windon Memorial invites).  Colorado has a team stroke average of 75.2, including 73.4 for the spring; the 76.3 number for the fall was largely inflated by three particularly tough set of conditions at the Rich Harvest, Windon and Pepperdine events (in those three tournaments, there was just one player under par combined out of the 150-plus entered).  Pepperdine transfer Michael Baird leads the team in stroke average (72.5), with three other Buffaloes owning sub-75 averages.


RANKINGS  There are three ranking systems in Division I college golf.  Here's a look at the field for the CU-Stevinson Ranch Invitational in the latest rankings in all (as of March 22):


Team Rankings by Golfweek/GolfStat (as of March 18/21): Kansas (55/53), Colorado (60/59), Wichita State (66/57), UC-Santa Barbara (78/71), UC-Davis (84/NE), Iowa State (87/86), Akron (107/100), Missouri-Kansas City (116/119), Missouri (122/118), Illinois State (131/130), Air Force (174/177), Drake (191/184).  In Division II, Cal-State Stanislaus is ranked No. 9 and Hawai'i-Hilo No. 40 by GolfStat; Oklahoma City is the No. 2 team in GS's NAIA rankings.  

GCAA Coaches Poll (voted by Division I coaches): no teams in field received votes.

Golfweek District 5 Rankings (as of March 19):  1. Oklahoma State;  2. Tulsa;  3. Kansas;  4. Colorado;  5. Wichita State;  6. Nebraska;  7. Iowa State;  8. Oklahoma;  9. UMKC;

   10. Missouri;  11. Oral Roberts;  12. Illinois State;  13. Missouri State;  14. Kansas State; 15. Northern Iowa;  16. Drake;  17. Arkansas State;  18.  Southern Illinois;  19. Creighton.

Individual Rankings (players from schools in meet): Gary Woodland (Kansas, Sr.), ranked No. 15 by GolfStat and No. 17 by Golfweek; Louie Bishop (UC-Davis, Sr., 20 GS/68 GW);

   Matt Miller (Illinois State, Sr., 39 GS/84GW).  OCU's Daniel Mitchell (Sr.) and Anthony Michael (Soph.) and CSU-Stanislaus' Eric Justesen (Jr.) are ranked Nos. 1, 26 and No. 39, respectively, by GolfStat, which merges all divisions individually.  The top Colorado Buffalo is Michael Baird (Jr.), ranked 116 by Golfweek and 160 by GolfStat.


In the Golfweek rankings, Colorado is 0-17 against top 25 teams, 3-32-1 versus top 50 teams, 27-46-2 against the top 100 and 56-47-2 overall.  In the GolfStat computations, Colorado owns a 229-57 record in a round robin, head-to-head comparison.


STEVINSON RANCH INVITATIONAL HISTORY  A few years back, late CU head coach Mark Simpson had the idea of hosting a meet for District 5 teams at a good weather site, since many of the schools only faced each other once or twice a year at the most and usually in less-than-preferential weather conditions; the first eight tournaments have been a success and are quite popular with the participating teams (the 2006 event was the first one reduced to two rounds due to weather)... Monday's competition will feature two rounds with a shotgun start at 8:00 a.m. PST (the second round will begin around 1:00 p.m. as play is continuous), with Tuesday's final round also featuring an 8:00 a.m. shotgun start... For this meet, Stevinson Ranch will play to its 7,206-yard, par-72 layout; the course has a 74.7 rating and slope of 138, and features greens with bent grass... Kansas won the first four CU-Stevinson meets and has been crowed champion six times in eight tries in the event; Pacific broke through and won in 2003, with Colorado capturing the shortened tourney last spring (play was called when rain and lightning peppered the area for over an hour, but teams had to depart to catch their flights; most schools had up to four holes remaining to play).  Seven of the eight previous Stevinson meets have been decided by eight strokes or less (four by three or fewer), with only the 2005 event a blowout (a 20-shot Kansas win).