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Golfers In 12th At NCAA Central Regional

May 15, 2008

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        COLUMBUS, Ohio - The University of Colorado men's golf team had its best start in postseason play in four years, with the Buffs tied for 12th after the first round here Thursday of the 20th Annual NCAA Central Regional.

 

        No. 19-ranked Wake Forest owns the team lead after day one, recording a 6-over par score of 290, which has the Demon Deacons just ahead of No. 3 Alabama (292) and No. 6 Oklahoma State (293). 

 

        Colorado, ranked No. 65, turned in a 301 team score, which was matched by No. 13 Louisville and No. 28 Tennessee.

 

        The top 10 teams will advance to the 111th Annual NCAA Championship Finals in West Lafayette, Ind., May 28-31.

 

        The Buffaloes, seeded No. 21 here, posted the fourth best score of the 12 teams that played in the morning.  Overall on the day, CU topped eight teams and matched two others ahead of it in the seedings, while being bettered by just one behind it.  

 

        It's Colorado's highest standing after one round of regional play since a similar tie for 12th in 2004, thus matching the best start since opening in 11th place in 2002. 

 

        "Overall, I thought we did a really good job," head coach Roy Edwards said of his team's effort.  "Derek and Jim played solid and gave us a good foundation today, and we know this is a hard, hard golf course.  You have to keep the hole above you and keep everything uphill.  We did a good job of that today, and we know there are some things we can certainly do better.

 

        "We're definitely right in the middle of things, and that's what we wanted."

 

        It's shaping up to be another dogfight for the 10th and final position in the Central Regional.  The last seven have all come down to a playoff or one stroke separating the 10 teams that qualified and the 11th that was left on the outside looking in.  After one round, just five strokes separate 14 schools wedged between fifth and 15th place.

 

        Junior Derek Tolan led the Buffalo attack Thursday, turning in a 37-36?73 (2-over par) effort on the 7,420-yard, par-71 Ohio State University Scarlet Course layout.  Starting on No. 10, as all Buffaloes did, he had eight pars and just one bogey at the turn before opening the front nine with three straight bogeys.  But he settled down to play the last six holes 2-under, as he recorded birdies on No. 6 (a par-5) and No. 8 (a par-3).

 

        Senior Jim Grady, playing in his first NCAA Championships, put a 37-37?74 into the books, turning at 2-over before engaging in a bit of a rollercoaster ride on his second nine, as he scored four bogeys, three birdies and two pars.

 

        Tolan's 73 tied for the third best scoring recorded in the morning, while Grady's 74 tied the sixth top effort.  Once the afternoon group completed play, Tolan stood tied for 17th overall, with Grady tied for 24th.

 

        Sophomores Luke Symons and Justin Bardgett both recorded 6-over par 77s (with nines of 39-38) and are tied for 77th. 

 

        Symons' round included two birdies, six bogeys and a double bogey, as he never really got rolling with only one stretch of par or better for three straight holes.  When CU won Ohio State's Kepler Intercollegiate last month, he finished second individually and did post two 72s to go with a 78 so Edwards expects him to come around Friday.

 

        Bardgett, who found out late Monday he was replacing CU's top golfer Michael Baird, had a birdie, five bogeys and a double.  He opened play with four straight pars before recording a double bogey on No. 14 in his first NCAA action.  Baird was diagnosed with double pneumonia upon CU's return from The Maxwell in Ardmore, Okla., last weekend. 

 

        "I followed Justin around for most of the day and saw most of his shots.  He played pretty solid," Edwards said.  "He's a good player and he's capable of shooting better.  He just jumped right in there like it was any old tournament and did a good job, he didn't have any jitters that I could detect and responded well in a tough situation." 

 

        Freshman Michael Imperato, the third Buff playing in the NCAA's for the first time, struggled to an 84 Thursday (42 each side).  He had eight bogeys, a double and a triple in managing to record back-to-back pars on just one occasion.  He tends to come back strong in the second round, however, as in 11 of 12 meets this season he has posted a better score in round two, and by a shade over four strokes at that.     

 

        Wake Forest's Brendan Gielow was the only player in the field to shoot in the 60s, barely at that, but his 2-under 69 is good for a one shot lead over five players entering the second round.

 

        Those were the only six subpar scores in the 140-man field, five coming in the afternoon from players on the 15 highest-seeded teams and one by the 66 players who participated in the morning round.

 

        The second round is scheduled for Friday; Colorado will again be paired with Ohio State and Baylor (the three are the Nos. 19 to 21 seeds, CU the latter) and will tee off at 10:12 a.m. MDT.  All teams will be repaired for Saturday's final round, with the top 15 teams earning the preferred morning tee times.

 

        Colorado has been known to move up in the standings in the final round but not the second in regional play.  The Buffs will be out to change that Friday, as only in the first year of regionals (1989) has CU gained ground in the standings, moving from six to third, where it eventually finished.

 

BUFFALO INDIVIDUALS

T 17. Derek Tolan......... 37-36?73

T 24. Jim Grady........... 37-37?74

T 77. Luke Symons......... 39-38?77

T 77. Justin Bardgett..... 39-38?77

T136. Michael Imperato.... 42-42?84 

 

 TOP 5 INDIVIDUALS

1. Brendan Gielow, Wake Forest... 35-34?69

2. Alexander Sitompul, Michigan.. 33-37?70

2. Graham Hill, E. Michigan...... 36-34?70

2. Kevin Tway, Oklahoma State.... 37-33?70

2. Charles Ford, Tennessee....... 35-35?70

2. Mark Harrell, Alabama......... 35-35?70

 

TEAM SCORES

 1. Wake Forest......... 290

 2. Alabama............. 292

 3. Oklahoma State...... 293

 4. Florida............. 294

 5. Eastern Michigan.... 297

 6. Michigan............ 298

 6. Texas A & M......... 298

 6. Illinois............ 298

 9. Lamar............... 299

 9. Ohio State.......... 299

11. Indiana............. 300

12. COLORADO............ 301

12. Louisville.......... 301

12. Tennessee........... 301

15. Eastern Kentucky.... 302

15. TCU................. 302

15. Wichita State....... 302

15. Kent State.......... 302

19. Arkansas............ 304

19. Penn State.......... 304

21. Baylor.............. 307

22. Georgia Tech........ 307

23. Texas-Arlington..... 308

24. Cleveland State..... 313

25. Marquette........... 314

26. Sacred Heart........ 316

27. Loyola-Maryland..... 318