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Golfers Finish 10th at Big 12 Men's Championships

Apr 27, 2008

        TRINITY, Texas - The University of Colorado men's golf team shot one of the better rounds for the second straight day but in the end only climbed one spot in finishing 10th as the 12th Annual Big 12 Conference Championships came to a close here Sunday.

 

        No. 5 Oklahoma State led from wire-to-wire in winning by 20 strokes, as the Cowboys successfully defended their league title in winning a sixth Big 12 crown and 51st all-time league title.  The Cowboys were the only team under par, finishing with a team score of 1,141, or 11-under.

 

        No. 38 Texas (1,161), No. 27 Texas Tech (1,165) and No. 16 Texas A & M (1,178) were the closest in pursuit of OSU.

 

        Colorado entered the meet as the sixth-seed and the No. 60 team nationally, closed with a final round 298 for a 72-hole total of 1,208, the first four-round tournament for the Buffaloes since the 2002 NCAA Championships.

 

        A disastrous first day doomed the Buffaloes here.  CU shot the sixth best score in the field Saturday and came back with the fourth lowest Sunday, with the Buffs' 594 score over the last 36 holes trailing only OSU (574), Texas (579) and Texas Tech (581).

 

        Most scores were higher Sunday as winds and light rainfall moved into the area.  The course played harder with traditional Sunday pin placements, and with a lot of rain anticipated that never really materialized, placements on the shelves of greens proved to make it that much harder.

 

        "We did much better in the final two rounds, for sure," head coach Roy Edwards said.  "We got off to a slow start and made things tough for ourselves.  We came back a little bit and we did finish well, so we do feel good about that.

 

        "But overall, we're disappointed.  We were never really able to catch up after the start we had, and when you're playing against really good teams, you just can't do that."

       

        Sophomore Luke Symons was Colorado's highest finisher, tying for 28th after a final round 74 gave him a 300 total (12-over par).  He had a team-high five birdies Sunday, but endured double and triple bogeys that offset his gain in red numbers.  He had the most birdies by any Buff in the meet with 13 on the 7,470-yard, par-72 Whispering Pines Golf Club course, and was 6-under on the par 5s in the tournament, tied for third best.

       

        Only Colorado and Missouri didn't have at least one golfer in the top 20, which is a rarity for the Buffaloes.  This marks just the third time in CU history the Buffs did not have someone place in the top 20 in a conference meet, which previously had only happened in 1974 and 2005. 

       

        Junior Derek Tolan posted the third best score in the final round, as his 2-under par 70 was one of just five rounds under par Sunday.  He zoomed up 15 spots in the standings and finished tied for 33rd with a 304 total.

 

        In overcoming a deep cut on his right hand he suffered earlier in the week, Tolan's final round included three birdies and three bogeys, along with his ninth eagle of the season, a team best and one of the top 10 numbers in the nation (only five were scored here all weekend).  He was 2-over at the turn but posted a 4-under 32 on the front nine for his 70.

 

        Senior Jim Grady also tied for 33rd with a 304 total after a final round 77.  He turned at 1-over but had some trouble on his second nine, playing a six-hole stretch at 4-over.  He logged three birdies Sunday after his third round 68 went into the books as the second lowest gross score but matching the best score to par (minus-4) by a Buff in Big 12 championship play.

 

        Senior Michael Baird closed with 77 for a 309 and tied for 41st in the standings, as CU's top golfer coming in (74.2 stroke average) could never get untracked.  He suffered a triple bogey right out of the chute and battled to get back down to 1-over at the turn, but then bogeyed three of his first four holes on the back nine.  He did have 43 pars for the meet, but his combination of 50 pars and birdies (seven) was a team low for holes making par or better.

 

        Freshman Michael Imperato concluded his first college conference meet with an 81, tying for 46th overall.  He had 11 pars in his final round and scored the most (46) by any Buff here this weekend, but a quintuple bogey on the par-4 No. 14 accounted for most of his strokes over par on the round.  He had just three holes out of 72 that were double bogey worse (a CU best): one double, one quadruple and Sunday's quintuple, as those three holes accounted for nearly half (11) of the 24 strokes he was over par for the meet.

 

        Oklahoma State's Rickie Fowler shot a final round 68 to claim medalist honors with a 9-under 279 total, which was good for a four shot win over teammate and third round leader Kevin Tway.

 

        Colorado is idle until May 10-11, when it will participate in the Perry Maxwell Intercollegiate.  Between now and then, the Buffaloes have final exams and will also find out if in fact they are invited to the NCAA Championships for the third straight season (and for the eighth time in the last 10 years).

 

        "I think we're probably in with the way things will likely shake out," Edwards said.  "We're one of the top 40 teams in the country this spring and really have just this one bad tournament."

 

 BUFFALO INDIVIDUALS

T28.  Luke Symons............................. 76-73-77-74?300

T33.  Jim Grady................................... 80-79-68-77?304

T33.  Derek Tolan................................ 83-75-76-70?304

T41.  Michael Baird.............................. 75-79-78-77?309

T46.  Michael Imperato........................ 80-76-75-81?312 

 

 TOP 5 INDIVIDUALS

 1.  Rickie Fowler, Oklahoma State...... 72-68-71-68?279

 2.  Kevin Tway, Oklahoma State........ 72-68-70-73?283

 3.  Garrett Merrill, Texas Tech............ 76-67-68-74?285

 4.  Chris Ward, Texas Tech................ 72-69-71-75?287

 5.  Andrea Pavan, Texas A&M........... 76-71-67-74?288

 

 TEAM SCORES

  1.  Oklahoma State...................... 285-282-283-291?1141

  2.  Texas....................................... 288-294-286-293?1161

  3.  Texas Tech............................. 302-282-282-299?1165

  4.  Texas A&M.............................. 299-284-294-301?1178

  5.  Baylor...................................... 298-296-298-299?1191

  6.  Kansas.................................... 303-295-298-298?1194

  7.  Oklahoma............................... 295-297-308-300?1200

  8.  Kansas State........................... 297-307-301-297?1202

  9.  Iowa State................................ 298-313-292-303?1206

10.  COLORADO........................... 311-303-296-298?1208

11.  Nebraska................................. 303-300-305-317?1225

12.  Missouri.................................. 312-304-305-316?1237