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Men's Golf: Buffs Remain Ninth At Pac-12 Meet

Apr 28, 2012


CORVALLIS, Ore. - The University of Colorado men's golf team turned in its best team score in three tries here Saturday but remained in ninth place heading into Sunday's final round of the Pac-12 Conference Championships.

No. 7-ranked Oregon, with a blistering third round score of 16-under par 344, assumed the lead with a 14-under 54-hole score of 1,066.  All five scorers for the Dusk were under par, including three in the 60s to account for the tremendous round.  No. 3 UCLA slipped into second but is still in the hunt with a 10-under 1,070, while No. 8 California is in third and also in contention with a 1,072 tally.    No. 5 Southern California and host Oregon State (ranked No. 54) are tied for fourth at even-par 1,080.

The Buffaloes remained in ninth place after recording a 7-over 367 score in the third round, and at this point appear to be duking it out with the two "Evergreen" state schools for seventh.  CU has a team score of 1,104 through 54 holes, trailing Washington State (1,096) and No. 12 Washington (1,103).  No. 6 Stanford holds down the final first division spot at 1,086.

Unlike the first two rounds where Colorado had trouble closing out play, a combined 13-over par by the five scorers on the last three holes (Nos. 16-18), Saturday the quintet that contributed to the team score played the last three at 1-under; with CU starting on the back nine, those last three were 7, 8 and 9 on the 7,030-yard, par-72 Trysting Tree Golf Club course.

CU is playing in its first tournament this year with a 6-for-5 format, meaning the best five scores out of six participants count toward the team total.  With its No. 1 player, senior Kevin Kring, struggling the last 36 holes, that made it even more of a challenge for the Buffs' number five and six men, but they've responded to the pressure.

Colorado, the last team to have one of its players score higher than a bogey here (on its 26th hole), continued to refrain from scoring big numbers, with just five double bogeys thus far in 270 holes.  Just two of those have been recorded by the fifth and sixth men, one each by freshman David Oraee and junior Johnny Widmer.

Junior Jason Burstyn recorded CU's best score Saturday with a 1-under 71; starting on the back side and after being plus-1 after six holes, he birdied Nos. 16 and 18 and then parred all nine holes on the front nine; he had three birdies and 13 pars against two bogeys, giving him seven, 36 and 11, respectively for the weekend.  His 4-over 220 total has him tied for 32nd.

Oraee also has a 220 score entering the final round; he was cruising along Saturday at 1-under with a birdie and 11 pars two-thirds of the way through his day.  But he would bogey five of the last six holes to finish up with a 4-over 76.

Oraee, who is currently second among all freshmen in the meet, played the par-3s even (tied for sixth best) and the par-5s at 3-under (ninth).  A frosh has posted the best score by a Buff in a conference meet just five times in school history, the last time in 2000 when Kane Webber and Matt Zions were part of a trio to tie for 11th.

Junior Derek Fribbs is tied for 35th, fashioning a 1-over 73 for a 221, or 5-over total.  He opened with a bogey but came back with two birdies over the next eight holes to turn at 1-under, but then disaster struck on the front nine.  He double bogeyed both 1 and 2 to go to 3-over before settling back in.  Birdies on Nos. 6 and 9 brought him back down to 1-over for the day.  His 11 birdies through three rounds is the team best, tied for 13th in the field.

Widmer, playing in just his third tournament this season and the first where his score is counting toward the team score, turned in his best effort yet here with a 1-over 73; his 7-over 223 score has him tied for 41st.  He had four bogeys and 10 pars on the day, giving him eight and 32, respectively, for the meet.   His round didn't start off well, as he found himself 3-over through six after doubling No. 12 and making a bogey on No. 15.  But he came right back with a birdie on No. 16 before bogeying 18 and turning at plus-3.   He then dug in and scored a 34 on the front nine with three birdies and a single bogey, the rest pars.

Junior Beau Schoolcraft recorded a 2-over 74 to give him an 8-over 224 score, tying him for 45th.  He had three birdies and 10 pars against five bogeys Saturday.  He continued to be among the best in the field on the par-5s, playing them collectively at 5-under, or sixth-best in the 72-man event.

Kring, the team's stroke average leader (72.6), has uncharacteristically struggled here this weekend, particularly in the last two rounds.  After opening with 1-over 73, he had rounds of 77 the second time around the Trysting track on Friday and then a season-high 81 in the third round, neither of which were applied to the team score after coming into the meet with 29 out of 30 doing so.  He's not all over the course, but through 54 holes, he has just two birdies and 35 pars against 17 bogeys after scoring nine each of the latter two Saturday.  He's tied for 64th with a 15-over 231 score.

Oregon's Eugene Wong maintained his hold on the top spot with a 3-under 69, giving him a 10-under 206 total; but he's been joined in the first position by teammate Daniel Miernicki, who put a 66 into the books to catch his senior counterpart.  Stanford's Andrew Yun is lurking one stroke back in third after also recording a 69 Saturday.

Head coach Roy Edwards was still not with the team as of Saturday evening, remaining back in Boulder with his wife, Shelly; she is imminently due with the couple's second child.  First-year assistant coach Jonathan Levy continued to handle all the coaching chores in his absence for a third straight day, including the practice round.

"As opposed to yesterday, where we saw a lot of consistency out of the whole team, today we saw a little bit of everything," Levy said.  "Kevin struggled all day long and David had a tough time coming down the stretch, which hurt, but I'm very pleased with the way Jason, Derek, Beau and Johnny hung in there to turn in solid performances.  Those four guys together played their final holes in six under, which was absolutely huge in giving us a chance to move up tomorrow and pass a few more teams."

"I'm not really sure what got into Kevin, but he really struggled with his ball striking - more than I've seen him all season - and kept compounding his mistakes all day long," Levy added.  "Likewise, David, who had it going for most of the day, struggled down the stretch and made a few costly mistakes that could have been avoided. 

"I still can't say enough about how great Johnny Widmer has been for us this week.  At times this year he's fought his game, and even at times this week he has, but his mental fortitude has pushed through and kept him in it every round.  His contribution to the team this week has been invaluable."

The fourth and final round will commence at 9 a.m. MDT Sunday off both the Nos. 1 and 10 tees; Colorado will against start on No. 10 and will be paired with the schools it is battling with for a seventh place finish, Washington and Washington State.

"I think the sheer depth and talent of the Pac-12 Conference was exposed today with the low scoring conditions," Levy noted.  "This isn't an easy course, and there were a number of difficult hole locations out there, but these are some of the best college golfers in the country and today they showed why.  That said, Coach Edwards and I have thought all year long that our guys can stack up with the best.  We showed that for a while yesterday, we just need to learn to get out of our own way with some of these avoidable mistakes that we continue to make. 

"I'm hopeful we can do that tomorrow," he continued.  "If we come out and start the final round in the same way some of these guys finished today, we can feasibly catch Washington and Washington State and finish in the middle of the pack.  If we do that, in the strongest golf conference in the country, I think that would be a significant success for our first Pac-12 Championship." 

NOTES: Unlike Friday, when the weather saw temperatures in the low 50s, with it windy at times and light rain on and off throughout, Saturday saw it warm into the 60s with no precipitation and just overcast skies ... "Today was warm with no wind, so it was a perfect day for scoring and there were definitely a few teams who took advantage of the conditions," Levy said.  "We should have similar conditions tomorrow again, so hopefully we can take confidence in what we were doing well today and learn from our mistakes to make a solid final push to the finish line." ... Oraee is bidding to become the first CU freshman to lead (or share it) in a conference championship since Kane Webber and Matt Zions joined sophomore Steve Carroll in the 2000 Big 12 meet; the last freshman to lead the Buffs in a solo capacity was Knut Ekjord in the 1995 Big 8.  In all three instances, those frosh tied for 11th.  The most famous Buff to lead the team as a freshman? Eventual '96 U.S. Open champion Steve Jones finished third in the '78 Big 8 meet.



Jason Burstyn



David Oraee



Derek Fribbs



Johnny Widmer



Beau Schoolcraft



Kevin Kring




Eugene Wong, Oregon



Daniel Miernicki, Oregon



Andrew Yun, Stanford



Patrick Cantlay, UCLA



Pedro Figueiredo, UCLA













Southern California



Oregon State






Washington State









Arizona State