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Golfers Slip Into 18th At NCAA Regional

May 16, 2008

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        COLUMBUS, Ohio - The University of Colorado men's golf team spent the better part of the day above or near the cutline, but struggled down the stretch in slipping from 12th into a tie for 18th place after Friday's second round of the 20th Annual NCAA Central Regional.

 

        There was no change at the top of the leaderboard, as No. 19 Wake Forest extended its first round lead from two strokes to 10 over No. 3 Alabama.  The Demon Deacons, with a 3-over 287 in round two have a 577 team score for 36 holes, with the Crimson Tide in at 587.

 

        Illinois and Penn State are tied for third with 590 scores, as the Illini moved up three spots, while the Nittany Lions had the day's largest jump, climbing 16 spots from 19th.

 

        Colorado, ranked No. 65, spent its entire front nine in the lower part of top 10, turning at 6-over with some of the day's tougher holes behind it.  But the Buffs couldn't close, losing 11 strokes to par over the last six holes en route to a 19-over 303 for the day and a 604 for two rounds.  That's seven strokes behind Indiana and Kent State, who share 10th place with 597 scores.

 

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

 

        The teams that played in the morning had to endure light rain and cold temperatures in the upper 40s and low 50s, while the afternoon teams had it a bit warmer, with only cloudy skies, but winds that were gusting to 20 miles per hour by mid-afternoon.

 

        "We were really doing a good job of hanging in there, but we didn't finish very well," head coach Roy Edwards said.  "We didn't play our best.  Derek was fine and Jim had it going but had a couple of tough shots that led to bogeys and then had some trouble on No. 16 that led to a triple.  But anytime you have to count a score in the 80s is going to hurt you.  You just can't do that."

 

        Colorado has played in 15 regionals, and in only the first did the Buffaloes move up in the standings between the first and second round.  That's the bad news; the good news is that CU has improved 12 times out of 14 chances from the second to final rounds, including the second largest comeback at the time in Central Regional history.

 

        That occurred in 1999, and in very similar circumstances; the Buffs were also tied for 18th and were eight strokes out of 10th.  And the location?  This very same 7,420-yard, par-71 Ohio State University Scarlet Course in Columbus.

 

        "We're not out of it by any means, but there is little room for error," Edwards added.  "We've played good here before in tough circumstances, we just need to have our heads on right.  We have to look forward to playing well, and knowing we can, instead of sulking with how poorly we played down the stretch today."

 

        It will be another dogfight for the 10th and final position in the Central Regional, with 12 teams within nine strokes of the 10th and final qualifying position.  The last seven have all come down to a tie for the last spot, forcing a playoff, or just one stroke separating 10th and 11th place in the standings.

 

        Junior Derek Tolan continued to lead the Buffaloes here, as he posted a 1-over 72 for a 145, or 3-over par, total.  He was 2-over after eight holes, with four bogeys and two bogeys, but got into a rhythm and played the last 10 at 1-under, with two birds and a single bogey.

 

        Tolan moved from 17th place into a tie for eighth, six shots out of the lead.  The top two individuals not on the 10 teams that qualify will also advance to the national finals; Tolan is currently tied for one of those two spots based on the second round standings.

 

        The last Buffalo to play in the NCAA Finals as individual was Bobby Kalinowski in 1993.  He advanced after tying for ninth ... in Columbus.

 

        Senior Jim Grady was rolling along and was 2-under through 12 before a couple of tough breaks undid what appeared to be one of the best rounds by anyone here.  In closing with three bogeys and a triple on No. 16, he shot a 4-over 75 for 149 total (7-over) and is tied for 37th.

 

        Sophomore Luke Symons shaved a stroke off his first round effort in posting a 5-over 76; his round included seven bogeys and two birdies, both of which were made on par-3s that closed out each nine.  He is in at 153 (11-over), which has him tied for 81st.

 

        Sophomore Justin Bardgett never got untracked but never posted a big number, either, as his round of 80 included 10 bogeys and one birdie.  His 36-hole total of 157 (15-over) tying him for 115th in the standings.

 

        Freshman Michael Imperato continued to have his struggles here, posting back-to-back rounds in the 80s for the first time as a collegian after an 82 Friday.  After opening with three bogeys in his first four holes, he got things together and finished up the front side with five consecutive pars.  But he had six bogeys and a double on the back, leading to a 166 score (24-over) that has him 139th overall.

 

        Grady, Bardgett and Imperato are all competing in their first NCAA championship, but CU is minus its top golfer, Michael Baird, who was diagnosed with double pneumonia just this past Monday and was ordered immediate bed rest.

 

        Oklahoma State's Kevin Tway is the individual leader after recording a 2-under 69 Friday, just the second score in the 60s in 282 rounds played here.  He is in with a 3-under 139 and leads first round leader Brendan Gielow of Wake Forest by two shots.

 

        The Scarlet Course layout continues to play tough, as through 36 holes, there have been just a pair of 69s, nine 1-under 70s and 11 rounds of par recorded; otherwise, 92 percent of the rounds played here in two days have been over par.

 

        The third and final round is set for Saturday; Colorado will be paired with No. 8 Georgia Tech and Texas-Arlington and will tee off at 10:12 a.m. MDT, starting on the back nine.  The top 15 teams earned the preferred morning tee times.

 

        "We probably have to shoot 290 or better, the cut will be somewhere in there around 41, 42-over," Edwards said.  "I think we absolutely have that in us, and playing with a good team like Georgia Tech which is also trying to rally definitely helps."

  

 BUFFALO INDIVIDUALS

T    8.  Derek Tolan............................... 73-72?145

T  37.  Jim Grady.................................. 74-75?149

T  81.  Luke Symons............................. 77-76?153

T115.  Justin Bardgett........................... 77-80?157

  139.  Michael Imperato...................... 84-82?166

 

 TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS

 1.  Kevin Tway, Oklahoma State........ 70-69?139

 2.  Brendan Gielow, Wake Forest...... 69-72?141

 3.  Dustin Groves, Wake Forest.......... 72-70?142

 4.  Webb Simpson, Wake Forest........ 72-71?143

 5.  Jorge Campillo, Indiana................ 71-73?144

 5.  Mark Harrell, Alabama.................. 70-74?144

 5.  Jessie Massie, E. Kentucky............ 73-71?144

 8.  Derek Tolan, Colorado.................. 73-72?145

 8.  Kevin Foley, Penn State................. 75-70?145

 8.  Charles Ford, Tennessee............... 70-75?145

 

 TEAM SCORES

   1.  Wake Forest............................ 290-287?577

   2.  Alabama.................................. 292-295?587

   3.  Illinois...................................... 298-292?590

   3.  Penn State................................ 304-286?590

   5.  Eastern Kentucky..................... 302-289?591

   6.  Texas A & M............................ 298-294?592

   6.  Oklahoma State....................... 293-299?592

   8.  Florida..................................... 294-300?594

   8.  Louisville.................................. 301-293?594

10.  Kent State................................. 302-295?597

10.  Indiana..................................... 300-297?597

12.  Michigan.................................. 298-300?598

13.  Eastern Michigan..................... 297-302?599

14.  Lamar...................................... 299-301?600

15.  Tennessee................................ 301-300?601

16.  Ohio State................................ 299-303?602

16.  Wichita State........................... 302-300?602

18.  COLORADO............................ 301-303?604

18.  TCU.......................................... 302-302?604

20.  Georgia Tech........................... 307-299?606

20.  Texas-Arlington........................ 308-298?606

22.  Arkansas.................................. 304-304?608

23.  Cleveland State........................ 313-299?612

24.  Marquette................................ 314-299?613

25.  Baylor....................................... 307-309?616

26.  Sacred Heart........................... 316-311?627

27.  Loyola-Maryland...................... 318-314?632