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Golfers Geared For Big 12 Championship

Apr 22, 2007

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               HUTCHINSON, Kan. - The team might not be that familiar with the course, but the head coach knows it like the back of his hand, which should be a big help to the University of Colorado men's golf team as the Buffaloes will participate in the 11th annual Big 12 Championships here Monday and Tuesday.


               First-year CU coach Roy Edwards grew up in Hutchinson, and lettered four years as a prep for Hutchinson High School; he figures he has played anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 rounds at Prairie Dunes Country Club, which is hosting the Big 12 meet for the eighth time.


"We should be the best prepared team entering the Big 12 Championship as far as knowledge of the course is concerned," he said.  "The danger is information overload, and this is the kind of course where you learn something different every single time you play it.  But hopefully I can give just that right amount of advice where its gives us a little bit of an advantage."


Colorado has six "first division finishes" in the 10 previous meets, as the Buffaloes have finished sixth or better more so than just three other schools, Oklahoma State and Texas (who have done so in all 10), and Oklahoma (eight).  CU has struggled in the last two league meets, tying for 10th in 2006 and placing 11th the previous year.  However, five of CU's six first division efforts took place at Prairie Dunes, including its two best finishes in the Big 12 play, third place in both 1998 and 2000.


               Colorado will be represented in this year's meet by senior Blake Moore, juniors Michael Baird, Tom Gempel and Patrick Grady, and sophomore Derek Tolan.  The one-through-five order for the meet as determined by qualifying is Tolan, Baird, Moore, Gempel and Grady.


               Prairie Dunes last hosted the meet in 2004, meaning only Moore has had the opportunity to play the course, at least in a collegiate event.  He recorded a 20-over par 230 score and tied for 45th as a true freshman.


               Baird is the team leader in stroke average on the season (73.67), while the next three are bunched tight: Tolan (74.56), Grady (74.60) and Moore (74.64).  Tolan has the best spring figure at 73.00, followed by Moore (73.30) and Grady (74.40).                           


"This will present a true championship test and will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our guys to compete at such a hallowed venue," Edwards added of the treat to play a course with Prairie Dunes' illustrious history.  "And of course, it is a great opportunity for us to measure our progress this spring against our peers in the Big 12." 


"We have prepared well and I expect we will be confident and ready to go on Monday morning.  Prairie Dunes demands great effort and I expect it out of the Buffaloes this week."


In a poll of the league coaches, Colorado was predicted to finish seventh, and thus will tee off as the No. 7 seed, with No. 8 Nebraska and No. 9 Oklahoma at 7 a.m. MDT Monday off the 10th tee.  The schools will play two continuous rounds on Monday with the final round set for Tuesday, with tee times of 7:00 and 7:50 a.m.


PROGRAM NOTES: Both Ryan Anderson and Patrick Grady were named first-team Academic All-Big 12 late last week.  Anderson is earning a second degree in history (he already holds a degree in psychology), while Grady is a junior business-finance major.  In addition, Grady was also Colorado's representative on the conference's Spring Sports Good Works Team.  The 12-member coed team recognizes those participants in the spring sports season for their significant community service.