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Golfers Tied For 13th After First Day Of Regionals

May 17, 2007

               SUGAR GROVE, Ill. - The University of Colorado men's golf team opened with a strong showing in adverse conditions here Thursday, as the Buffaloes are tied for 13th in the 19th Annual NCAA Central Regional.

 

               No. 23 Louisville easily had the best day of any team, as the Cardinals posted a 6-over par 294 team score to enter the second round with a nine stroke lead over No. 27 Texas (303) and a 10-shot edge over No. 42 Wisconsin (304). 

 

               Colorado, which came in ranked No. 66, posted a 27-over par team score of 315 and finished the day tied for 13th place with Texas Tech; CU had the fourth best score of the 12 teams that played the morning round.  That was good enough for the Buffs to top eight of the 17 top 50 teams in the meet, including No. 12 Texas A&M and No. 28 TCU, as well as four of the seven teams from its district.  But the bottom line for the Buffs is that they are just two strokes out of the top 10.

 

               The top 10 teams out of 27 competing here will join 10 from both the East and West regionals in advancing to the NCAA Championship Finals, set for May 30-June 2 in Williamsburg, Va.  The top two individuals from those teams not qualifying at each locale will advance as well. 

 

               Friday will likely be "moving day" as they say in golf circles, as only seven strokes separate 16 teams between eighth and 23rd place.

 

               Wind gusts up to 20 miles per hour plagued most of the first round, making a tough 7,214-yard, par-72 Rich Harvest Farms Golf Club course that much tougher.  When the Buffaloes teed off, among the first six teams to do so at 7 a.m. local time, the temperature was 45 degrees with the wind chill at 37.  Though it would eventually warm into the low 60s, the winds never let up making for a day of higher scores than expected in what many feel is the toughest of the three NCAA regionals.

 

               "I thought overall we did a good job of hanging in there," CU head coach Roy Edwards said.  "The golf course was extremely difficult, and with the wind, it made it real easy to feel like you're losing control of your game.  The greens are really firm and fast, and most are crowned, so it's a challenge not only to putt, but to chip anything close to the hole.  There aren't many courses where you finish up 27-over par in the morning and still would be in the tournament, but the way things played out, we're in the thick of things for a top 10 finish." 

 

               Junior Patrick Grady led the way for Colorado in the first round, as he shot a 4-over 76, a bit disappointing to him as was 2-under through seven before returning to even after a double bogey on the par-4 No. 17.  He had three of CU's five birdies as a team Thursday, and stood tied for 25th at day's end.  Last September, Grady tied for third in Northern Illinois University's Rich Harvest Farms Invitational, the best individual finish by a Buffalo to date this season.

 

               Sophomore Derek Tolan played fairly steady, recording a birdie against six bogeys for a 5-over 77 (tying him for 35th), as he was the lone Buff not to record a double bogey or worse in the first round.  He scored a 38 on the course's front nine, the only sub-40 score by the Buffs and just one of 23 players in the field to do it in the morning (53 did it for the day, as the front nine average was 40.3).  Freshman Luke Symons, the first true frosh to play for CU in the NCAA's since Kane Webber in 2000, made the turn at even par with seven pars, a birdie and a bogey, but endured a triple bogey the second nine en route to a 43 and an overall score of 79.

 

               Tolan and Symons both recorded 11 pars, tied for the 10th  most in the field.

 

               Only 19 of the 66 players who teed it up in the morning broke 80, including four of six individuals from teams that did not qualify; the best score posted was a solitary 1-over 73, as Grady's 76 tied for the seventh best morning round (with Tolan's 77 the 11th best).  When the 15 teams in the afternoon completed play, the number jumped to just 59 to shoot in the 70s, despite all 15 teams being ranked among the nation's top 42.  The average score in the morning was 81.7; for the day it was 80.3, as the 15 teams that played in the afternoon, all ranked ones at that, saw their players average 79.0 per round. 

 

               To put Louisville's team effort in perspective, only 50 of the 141 players in the field shot 6-over or better, with the Cardinals having three of the 17 to shoot 74 or less.  They were one of four teams to have played in last fall's tournament, and in fact, won it; CU, Kansas and SMU were the other and all are in the top 16 after day one, with only SMU at No. 49 ranked in the top 50.

 

               The two Buffaloes who did not play in last September's meet on this course, senior Blake Moore and junior Michael Baird, had the most trouble on Thursday as neither recorded a birdie on the way to their high single round scores of the year.  Moore was 3-over after four holes and eventually shot an 11-over 83 with seven bogeys and two doubles, while Baird, the team leader in stroke average (73.4), shot 42 on each side and finished with six bogeys and three doubles for a 12-over 84. 

 

                "Michael and Blake actually did a good job of staying focused even though they didn't score that great," Edwards said.  "They still managed to hang in there and saved us a couple of shots down the stretch.  Part of it was because they hadn't played competitively here like the other three, and part of it was that they just weren't on their game.  I expect them, as do they themselves, to play better tomorrow.  But they weren't alone in having their struggles, as many who hadn't seen the course for other than a practice round were in the same boat.

 

               "Pat got off to a really good start and then had to hang on coming in, and Derek played steady all the way around," he added.  "They both know they can play better, but today was all about just hanging in and taking what the golf course would give you, which wasn't much.  Luke was even at the turn and did a good job recovering from a triple bogey where he was 132 yards from the pin on No. 5 after his drive.  He really played steady, but didn't play as well as he's capable of. 

 

               As usual, the Central Regional is played on the toughest course of the three regionals; the last place team in the West, Monmouth, was at plus-14, with 18 teams in the East at plus-16 or better; those scores in the Central has teams in the top five.  UCLA, the west leader at 20-under par, had 25 birdies and three eagles as a team, compared to 142 birdies with five eagles by all 27 teams combined in the Central.

 

               Louisville's Derek Fathauer carded a 2-under 70 to grab the individual lead, as he owns a one stroke lead over a trio of players, including his brother, Daryl.

 

               Colorado was 23rd after the first round in the 2006 regional, but was 12th after day one in 2004 and technically led after the first day in 2002--though that round was only partially completed; CU was in fourth once all schools finished the weather-delayed round.

 

               The second round is scheduled for Friday, and the Buffaloes will tee off in the afternoon (starting at 11:12 a.m. MDT), and will once again paired with conference rivals Baylor and Kansas.  While temperatures are expected to be the same, the wind shouldn't be nearly as severe.  Colorado will be looking to set things up for a top 10 finish Saturday in hopes of advancing to the NCAA Finals for the first time since 2002.

 

               "It's going to be really key for us to pay attention to what we're doing and not worry about anybody else," Edwards said in advance of Friday's second round.  "It's absolutely necessary to try and save every shot that is possible.  The golf course is that hard, and you have to fight for everything." 

 

IRISH OPEN-Former CU golfer Matthew Zions continued his fine play on the European Tour Thursday, as he shot a 1-under 71 in the first round of the Irish Open.  Zions, who tied for ninth last week in Spain, is tied for 10th and is just three strokes off the lead heading into the second round.  He had five birdies and a bogey in the round, but was partially undone by a triple bogey on the par-4 No. 7 at the Adare Manor Golf Club in Limerick, Ireland.

 

 BUFFALO INDIVIDUALS

  T25.  Patrick Grady.............................. 40-36-76

  T35.  Derek Tolan................................. 38-39-77

  T51.  Luke Symons............................... 43-36-79

  T98.  Blake Moore................................ 41-42-83

T107.  Michael Baird.............................. 42-42-84

(Note: CU started on No. 10)

 

 TOP 5 INDIVIDUALS

 1.  Derek Fathauer, Louisville............... 35-35-70

 2.  Daryl Fathauer, Louisville................ 38-33-71

 2.  Dawie Van Der Walt, Lamar............ 37-34-71

 2.  Brett Myers, Tulsa......................... 34-37-71

 5.  Jhonatton Vegas, Texas................. 37-35-72             

 

 TEAM SCORES

  1.  Louisville.............................. 294

  2.  Texas..................................... 303

  3.  Wisconsin............................. 304

  4.  Tulsa...................................... 305

  5.  Oklahoma State..................... 306

  6.  Alabama................................ 309

  6.  Baylor.................................... 309

  8.  Kansas................................... 313

  8.  Western Illinois..................... 313

  8.  Lamar.................................... 313

11.  Minnesota............................. 314

11.  Tennessee............................. 314

13.  COLORADO.......................... 315

13.  Texas Tech............................ 315

15.  Northwestern......................... 316

16.  Illinois State.......................... 317

16.  SMU...................................... 317

18.  SE Louisiana.......................... 319

18.  Michigan State...................... 319

18.  Nebraska............................... 319

21.  Oklahoma.............................. 320

21.  Purdue................................... 320

21.  Texas A & M.......................... 320

24.  Wichita State......................... 331

25.  TCU....................................... 332

26.  Siena..................................... 351

27.  Texas Southern..................... 357