Kelly, Buffs Get Spring Season Underway
BOULDER - The University of Colorado women's golf team, ranked as high as the No. 21 team in the country, will open its spring portion of its schedule Saturday with a trip to Stanford, Calif., where the Buffs will participate in the Peg Barnhard Invitational.
"The first tournament of the spring is always a little bit dicey," CU head coach Anne Kelly said. "It's always hit and miss with the weather. We have great players and I know they'll play well; it's just a matter of shaking off a bit of the rust with the first tournament. We've had a month of practicing and everybody's a little tired of it, they're excited to get out on the course."
The Buffs will get right to the thick of the spring season and will see action in four tournaments in the next six weeks leading up to the MountainView Collegiate, which the Buffs host in Tucson, Ariz., March 25-26. Prior to that, the Buffs will play in the Juli Inkster Invitational in San Jose, Calif., and the Lady Gator Invitational in Gainesville, Fla. After the MountainView, the Buffs final regular season tournament will be the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate at Half Moon Bay, Calif. The Big 12 Championships will start post season play on April 22-24 in Columbia, Mo.
One issue that the Buffaloes always have to deal with this time of year is the amount of practice they can get in with the unpredictable Colorado weather.
"It's busy through March, but that's a good thing," Kelly said. "We're hit or miss with the weather so I'd rather have them on the road and traveling and playing tournaments early in the spring. (CU men's golf head coach Roy Edwards) had the perfect analogy; it's like playing basketball on a warped court. The greens are dead, so it's nice getting out to green courses this time of the year."
The Peg Barnhard Invitational is a smaller field of 10 teams, nine Division I schools and Division II Rollins College, but five of those 10 teams are ranked in the top 35 nationally and Rollins is ranked the No. 7 Division II school. Along with Rollins, the Buffs and host Cardinal, the field includes California, Fresno State, Santa Clara, San Jose State, UC Davis, Washington and Washington State.
"It's not a large field, but it's a very good field," Kelly said. "It will give us a great opportunity to see where we are right off the bat."
The 36-hole event will take place on the Stanford Golf Course, a par-71, 6,727-yard setup, with 18 holes both Saturday and Sunday in a shotgun start. This is the second time the Buffs will participate in the Peg Barnhard Invitational, the first coming in the 2007-08 season when the Buffs finished eighth in a 14-team field.
Colorado is coming off the best fall season in school history as in five tournaments the Buffs won two events and finished tied for second, third and fourth in the other three tournaments. The Buffs won both Colorado State's Ptarmigan Ram Fall Classic and their own Heather Farr Memorial Invitational.
Juniors Emily Talley and Jess Wallace led the way for the Buffs together compiling one win, six top 5 and nine top 10 finishes in the five events between themselves. Wallace set a CU record for a fall season with a 72.00 stroke average and she finished the fall a 3-under par in all, while Talley finished just 10 strokes back over the 15 rounds with an stroke average of 72.30, or 7-over par.
Wallace won the Heather Farr Memorial Invitational and had four top five finishes while Talley registered five top 10 finishes and set CU records for most strokes under par in a tournament (7-under par at the Ptarmigan Ram Fall Classic). Talley first matched the CU record by shooting a 67 at the Dick McGuire Invitational, becoming the first CU player to go 6-under par in a round on the par 73 course, while Wallace matched the 6-under performance and shot the first 66 in school history at The Alamo Invitational to close out the fall season.
Wallace set the new standard for a fall season with her 72.00 stroke average, but three other golfers would have set the mark, as well. Talley's mark of 72.70 and both sophomore Taylor Doyle's average of 74.55 and freshman Kristin Coleman's average of 74.67 would've bested the old mark, as well.
Freshmen Jenny Coleman and Tessa The also compiled top 15 finishes in the fall and those two along with Kristin Coleman, Doyle, Talley and Wallace will be participating this weekend. The will be competing as an individual.