Max Wins Southern Colorado Masters
PUEBLO — University of Colorado second-time sophomore Kristoffer Max led from wire-to-wire in winning the Southern Colorado Masters here Tuesday, his first collegiate victory.
Max' first round 65 enabled to own the top spot in the standings rom start-to-finish, and he owned a five-stroke lead heading into the final 18 holes; his lead was never less than three shots throughout the day, as he closed with a 1-over 72 on the 6,522-yard, par-71 Pueblo Country Club course layout. That enabled him to records a 7-under 206 total and a four-shot win over CSU-Pueblo's Andrew Ni.
Max set personal collegiate bests here for nine holes (30, which tied four previous Buffs in school history), 18 holes (a first round 65), 36 holes (134), 54 holes (206) and consecutive holes of par or better (31). His first win in 23 tournaments, it was his third where he finished under par, and was actually also his first finish in the top 10. The last Buffalo to earn medalist honors was Daniel O'Loughlin in CU's own Mark Simpson Invitational in September 2019.
"Kris was in full control over the two days," CU head coach Roy Edwards said. "He has been working extremely hard and it was awesome to see it all come together this week."
"I noticed a lot of good things in his game before coming down here," assistant coach Derek Tolan noted. "We talked about things in practice about how his game had looked, as he was struggling early this year. So we gave him a lot of things to work on, and he really responded and made a big change quick. And then it translated right into competition. He's loaded with talent, and I felt he might be tough to beat this week. It all did come together so all that hard work paid off."
"I was really struggling off the tee, we (he and the coaches) talked about gripping down on the driver, teeing it a little lower and it gave me more control off the tee," Max said. "That's been a huge factor for since I started practicing on those shots. Here, I was good off the tee, and that along with my approach game were the keys for me." Max hit 49 of 54 greens over the two days.
He had five birdies and eight pars Tuesday, giving him 13 and 33, respectively, for the event (the 13 birdies tied for fourth in the 54-man field). He played the par-4 holes the best (2-under), and the par-5 holes second best (minus-7).
"It feels good (to get the win)," Max added. "I'm not sure if it's really sunk in yet, but it's a good feeling and gives me some momentum. It was good to play the way I know I could play."
In all, four Buffaloes participated here as individuals, as the CU coaching staff is utilizing the tournament to help set the final lineup for the Pac-12 Championships.
Graduate transfer Chris Bornhorst tied for 22nd in his first competition as a Buffalo, wrapping things here with a 2-over 74 for a 7-over par 220 total. The former Babson College star had 11 birdies over the three rounds (three on Tuesday) along with 28 pars (nine in the final round). Most of his overage came on two holes in the first 18 holes, when he had to count a double and triple bogey. He played the par-4 holes at 1-over, which tied him for fifth in the field.
Redshirt freshman Canon Olkowski fashioned a 2-under 69 to finish here, just one of five rounds in the 60s and tying for the third-best score of the day as well as being his first college round in the 60s. At 213, he was 5-over par overall which tied him for 17th. He matched Max' team-best 13 birdies with 26 pars (four and 12, respectively on Tuesday). He played the par-3 holes at 1-over, fifth-best of all the performers here.
Senior Ross Macdonald tied for 25th, as he struggled Tuesday with an 80, thus finishing with an-over 221 score. He had a birdie (10 total over three rounds) with nine pars in the final round, but those were countered by six bogeys and two doubles. Most of his troubles came in a six-hole stretch where he was 8-over, but he did score his bird on his next to last hole to finish on a good note.
Host CSU-Pueblo held off a charge from CU-Colorado Springs to win the team title; the Thunderwolves finished 3-under par (849 team score), edging the Mountain Lions by four strokes.
NOTES: Max' 65 and 134 totals are team bests for the 2020-21 season, as the previous lows were 67 and 136, respectively … The average score for the tournament was 73.91, but the final round 74.09 norm was the highest of the three rounds.
TOP FIVE INDIVIDUALS
|1.||Kristoffer Max, Colorado||65-69-72—206|
|2.||Andrew Ni, CSU-Pueblo||70-71-69—210|
|3.||Samuel Salisbury, Fort Lewis||69-71-71—211|
|4.||Clay Kucera, CSU-Pueblo||71-70-71—212|
|T5.||Tim Amundson, Colorado Mines||73-71-69—213|
|T5.||Isaac Spillum, UCCS||70-73-70—213|