Golfers Seventh At UNM, Biwer Makes School History
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of Colorado men's golf team slipped two notches here Saturday into a seventh place finish as the 66th Annual New Mexico William H. Tucker Intercollegiate came to a close.
BYU used the low round of the event, a second round 18-under effort, as the Cougars cruised to a 19-stroke victory in finishing with a 23-under par 841 team score. Host New Mexico held on to second (4-under 860), with Louisville recording the best score of the day (8-under 280) to jump from eighth into third (2-over 866). San Diego (867) and New Mexico State (870) rounded out the top five.
The Buffaloes had two players shoot an even-par 72 on New Mexico's 7,555-yard Championship Golf Course but the three others carded 5-over 77s. That left CU with a 10-over 298 team score for the day, and an 18-over 882 total for 54 holes and a seventh place finish.
Justin Biwer tied for sixth to lead the CU effort here, as he closed with a 72 for a 5-under 211 score. Six back of the lead entering the day, he was in range of the leaders early after opening with five pars, but a double bogey on No. 11 set him back a bit. Undaunted, he would birdie twice to finish even on the back nine and ended the round with three total and 13 pars. His 40 pars tied for the second-most in the 100-player field, while playing the par-4s third best (2-under) and the par-3s 10th-best (1-over). H also led the Buffs with 10 birdies overall and had just four holes worse than par.
In the process and combined with his 3-under par performance in Air Force's Miranda Invitational two weeks ago, he became the first player in CU history – freshman or any class member, to open his Buff career with two subpar performances in major tournaments (several have opened with three in their first four, but never the initial pair).
Redshirt frosh Jack Hughes posted one of those 77s, which dropped him out of a top 20 finish into a tie for 28th with a 5-over 221 total for 54 holes. He had a single birdie against six bogeys Saturday, the latter two more than he totaled in the first two rounds. His 37 pars did tie for the eighth-most in the field.
Frederik Eisenbeis carded CU's other par effort, which enabled him to finish with a 9-ovr 225 total that tied him for 51st. H had three birdies, including starting his day with one, and 12 pars to counter three bogeys in the final round; he had eight birds overall and just on hole worse than bogy over the weekend.
Junior John Paterson tied for 67th after wrapping with a 77, finishing with a 12-over 228 total. He hasn't been able to get into his normal groove, though he did have seven birdies and 32 pars here, he also uncharacteristically had four double bogeys, two on Saturday.
Dylan McDermott closed with a 77 that had him tie for 76th with a 14-over 230. H had five birdies over the three rounds (one Saturday), but was also the only Buff not to record a double bogey here, though 20 bogeys overall kept him from turning in a lower final number after opening his career with an eighth place finish at Air Force.
"It was a spectacular tournament for Justin, easily one of the best-ever Tuckers for a Buff freshman," CU head coach Roy Edwards said. "He was really good the entire tournament and it showed in all parts of his game throughout as the South (course) demands it.
"Also a good round from Freddie today, and overall, a lot of good things to build on," he added. "We have a quick turnaround so we will get our minds right and move on to the Simpson. We have a strong field coming to Boulder so it will be another good test for our young team."
Edwards was correct in his assumption; CU is one of three schools to have participated in all 66 UNM Tucker events, and Biwer's 5-undr 211 score is the best recorded by a CU freshman. On two other occasions, Buff rookies finished under par in the Tucker, current assistant coach Derek Tolan (2-under in 2005 when he tied for eighth), and Morton Toft Hansen (1-under in 2016, when he also tied for sixth that Biwer equaled).
New Mexico State's Aidan Thomas held on to claim medalist honors despite carding a final round 7; he finished up with a 9-under 207 total to defeat three players by one shot.
Colorado returns home and will immediately host the 11th Annual Mark Simpson-CU Invitational on Monday and Tuesday at Colorado National Golf Club in Erie. Admission is free for the event, of which the Buffaloes are the seven-time defending champions (four outright titles, three shared).
NOTES: This matched the youngest CU lineup to ever play in a major tournament, as the same make-up played in Air Force's Miranda Invitational earlier this month (four freshmen, on junior), though one of the four was redshirt instead of a first-year (Hughes) … The average score for the tournament overall was 74.73 for 298 rounds, with Saturday's final round playing the toughest (75.28) … Colorado played the par-5 holes the fifth-best (19-under), but only 1-under in the final round after leading the field heading into the final 18; the Buffs played both the par-3's (16-over) and the par-4s (plus-38) the eighth-best … CU had the fourth-most pars (169) and tied for the 13th-most birdies (35).
SIMPSON-CU INVITATIONAL: The format calls for 36 holes of continuous play (foursomes) on Monday (Sept. 27) with a shotgun format start at 8:15 a.m. (MDT), and 18 holes for the final round on Tuesday (Sept. 28) in a staggered shotgun format (top four teams will play in five tee times off No. 1 beginning at 8:10 a.m.; rest in a shotgun at 8:30). Participating teams include CU, Air Force, Boise State, Denver, Grand Canyon, Missouri-Kansas City, Northern Colorado, San Diego, San Francisco, Southern Utah, UT-Arlington, Texas-El Paso, Utah, Utah State, Utah Valley, Wichita State and Wyoming.
|1.||Aidan Thomas, New Mexico State||67-66—133|
|2.||Sam Choi, New Mexico||68-68—136|
|T3.||Keanu Akina, BYU||74-64—138|
|T3.||Charlie Reiter, San Diego||69-69—138|
|T3.||David Timmins, BYU||70-68—138|
|5.||New Mexico State||283-291-296—870|