Men's Golf Opens Season Friday At Air Force
BOULDER — The University of Colorado men's golf team will open the fall portion of its schedule Friday in a most familiar location, down Colorado's Interstate 25 in the 52nd Annual Gene Miranda Air Force Falcon Invitational.
The Buffaloes enter the meet as its two-time defending champion, having won in the fall of both 2018 and 2019 before last year's event wasn't scheduled do to the COVID-19 pandemic. rallying on the third and final day both times to secure the victory. Last time out, all seven Buffaloes participating finished in the top 37 in the field.
The 54-hole tournament will be played over three days on the USAFA's Eisenhower Blue course, a par-72 layout that spans some 7,541 yards. Play features 18 holes each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with 8:30 a.m. start times for the first two rounds and a 7:15 start on Sunday. The Buffaloes have eight players entered in the event, five in the main tournament and three others in an individual event on AFA's Silver Course.
Twenty-one schools will be competing in the event; in addition to CU and host Air Force, Army, Cal State Northridge, Denver, George Washington, New Mexico State, Nevada, Northern Colorado, Northern Iowa, San Jose State, SIU-Edwardsville, Southern Illinois, Southern Utah, Texas-El Paso, UC Davis, UNLV, Utah State, Utah Valley State, Weber State and Wyoming, are entered in the field.
This will be the 38th time the Buffaloes are competing in this tournament, which was known as the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate prior to 1977. Colorado has now won the meet eight times, along with five runner-up finishes and five third-place efforts.
Colorado head coach Roy Edwards is beginning his 16th season as coach of the Buffaloes, with this year's edition of the Buffs returning four lettermen, the fewest in recent memory. He by far has his youngest team in his tenure, as there are no true seniors on the team; there are two second-time juniors due to COVID exceptions, Kristoffer Max and John Paterson, a second-time sophomore in Adam Matteson, a second-time freshman in Canon Olkowski, three redshirt freshmen in Jack Hughes, Jacob Mason and Ryan Mendez, and finally, four true frosh, Justin Biwer, Frederik Eisenbeis, Jack Holland and Dylan McDermott.
It's a direct contrast to last year's team, which graduated six seniors: all-time stroke average leader Daniel O'Loughlin, Victor Bjorlow, Chris Bornhorst, Andre Leveque, Ross Macdonald and Cole Krantz.
"It's always exciting to start the season," Edwards said. "This one is doubly-so as we didn't compete last fall and we have a lot of new players on the team competing this week. Jack Holland was our low qualifier and he earned the number one spot. Our four true freshmen finished one through four in qualifying which is impressive. We have a lot of talent across the roster and we will learn a lot this week about how everyone competes. The Blue course is always a challenge on the patience and the putting so if we focus on doing those two things well I expect it to be a successful week."
For the inaugural tournament of the year, Edwards will have first-timers Holland, Eisenbeis, McDermott and Biwer joined by the veteran Paterson play the 1-through-5 positions to account for team scoring. This is without a doubt the first time in school history that four freshmen are playing in their first major collegiate tournament simultaneously.
The three Buffs competing in the individual tournament on AFA's Silver Course are Hughes, Matteson and Max.