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Golfers Finish 10th At Pac-12 Championships

Apr 27, 2022
Biwer closed with two rounds in the 60s -- the only player to do so in the 72-man field.

        SAMMAMISH, Wash. — The University of Colorado men's golf team fared much better over the final 36 holes and eventually it paid off in the end as the Buffaloes escaped the cellar and some history in finishing 10th in the 62nd Pac-12 Championships which were completed here Wednesday.
 
        No. 8 and host Washington held off a charge from No. 17 Stanford and won its first conference title since claiming back-to-back crowns in 2009 and 2010.  The Huskies finished with a 2-over team score 1,422 strokes, three ahead of the Cardinal.  No. 4 Arizona State claimed third (1,430), followed by No. 33 Oregon (1,432) and Cal (1,446).
 
        Colorado had been stuck in 12th place for much of the event, but finally moved up a spot with about nine holes to play and then jumped into 10th; in doing so, it avoided the school's first last place finish since the 1949 Big Seven Championships.  CU closed with a 4-over 359, tied for its ninth-best single round score in relation to par in the Pac-12's.
 
        The Buffaloes played well over the last two rounds – a 10-over 720 – fourth-best and just behind Stanford (710), Oregon (715) and Washington (716) and ahead of Arizona State and Cal (both 721).  In the end, CU's finished with a 52-over par team score of 1,472 with three true freshmen leading the way for the Buffaloes, another school first.
 
        Freshman Justin Biwer recorded a final round 3-under 69 that propelled him from a tie for 12th into fifth – the best finish of the season – as he wrapped things with an overall 1-under 283 score on the 6,979-yard, par-71 Aldarra Golf Course layout blueprint.  He had five birdies and 11 pars with a bogey and a double, the latter coming on No.1 (his 10th hole of the day) and his only hole out of 72 here worse than a bogey.  Otherwise for the week, he had a team-high 18 birdies – which tied for the second-most in the 72-man field – with 38 pars and 15 bogeys.
 
        He chalked up his play the final two rounds to his play off the tee … and then on the green.
 
        "I hit my tee shots really well, I think I missed only five fairways over the last three rounds," Biwer said.  "I started to put myself in really good position much more often than not.  I was making a lot more putts than I did in the first two rounds.  I stayed focused, didn't get discouraged, and it was important to bounce back after my double with a couple of birdies."  (He overshot the green on No. 1 with too strong a 7-iron.)   
 
        Biwer was the only player in the field to close with scores in the 60s, which were at a premium the last two rounds with just seven in each; he won the last two rounds with a 6-under 136, three better than anyone else.  His fifth place effort was the best by a CU freshman in the Pac-12s since CU joined the conference in 2011-12, and the third best behind a pair of runner-up finishes by Ross Macdonald and Jeremy Paul in 2018.
 
        It also was the third-best finish by a CU freshman in any conference tournament, behind a runner-up effort by Rick Cramer in the 1979 Big Eight Championships; Cramer had bested a third place showing by Steve Jones the year before.  And of the 20 freshmen competing her, only Arizona State's Josele Ballester finished ahead of him, and by just one stroke at that.
 
        Biwer lived up to the honor he received Monday night when he was selected as CU's Male Freshman Athlete of the Year at the school's annual CUSPY's (CU Sports Performers of the Year).  He wound up playing the par-3s sixth-best (1-under), the par-5's at 4-under (16th) and the par-4's at 4-over (14th), one of just three players in the field to be in the top 16 in each.
 
        "With the gap year I took, I had a lot more expectations for myself coming into this year," Biwer said (he was a 2020 recruit but delayed his enrollment a year).  "I felt I had a really good chance of being a big part of this team.  As for the honor, I thought I could be considered for it, but we have so many great athletes across the board.  Coach didn't tell me until the next day, so it was nice to respond after finding out to have a really good finish with the two rounds in the 60s."

 
        Freshman Frederik Eisenbeis closed with his best round of the tournament – a 1-under 70 – to tie for 45th with an 11-over 295.   He had five birdies – and was 3-under after his last one – and nine pars against four bogeys.  However, two of the latter came on Nos. 7 and 8 which kept him from a round in the 60s.  He had 16 birdies – tied for the seventh-most in the field – and 34 pars in his first conference championship.
 
        Freshman Dylan McDermott fired an even-par 71, also his best round of the tournament, to finish in a tie for 50th with a 13-over 297 score.  He was 2-over through eight, but came on strong and played the next eight holes at 3-under; only a bogey on No. 8 kept him from posting a red number.  He had a steady final round with three birdies and 12 pars opposite three bogeys.  He had eight birdies and a team-high 43 pars on the week, along with his first collegiate eagle when he made a hole-in one in the second round Monday.
 
    Junior John Paterson finished with a 5-over 76 that saw him place 57th with a 15-over 299 score overall.  He started strong, standing 2-under through five, but on his next seven holes and four bogeys and a triple.  He would score three birdies and nine pars on the day, with 15 birdies and 25 total for the three days.
 
    Sophomore Adam Matteson, after three consecutive 76s to open here, shaved a stroke off that hat trick and finished with a 4-over 75; that placed him 63rd in the standings with a 19-over 303 total.  He opened with eight straight pars, but had three bogeys on his next four holes, and though sandwiched around a birdie on the par-3 No. 2, those put him on the unhappy side of par the remainder of the day.  He had a birdie and 12 pars with five bogeys Wednesday, with 10 birdies and 39 pars for the event overall.
 
        Junior Kristoffer Max shot his best round of the four in closing with a 3-over 74, as he had three birdies and 10 pars against four bogeys and a double. He finished with a 22-over 310 total to finish 66tth. Starting on No. 10, he was 1-under through six, but bogeyed three of his next four holes to rise to 2-over before he birdied No. 2.  After a par, he doubled No. 4 but rebounded to finished with five straight pars.  He had nine birdies and 39 pars over the course of the week.
 
        "Tenth certainly wasn't where we wanted to be," head coach Roy Edwards said.  "The last two days were more of what we expected this week, so I am really proud of the way we turned it around after such a poor start.  It was the same thing we've had issues with all year, when we mitigate our mistakes, we play well, and that's what happened the second half of the tournament.
 
        As for being led here by three true freshmen, Edwards is looking forward for more to come.
 
        Freddie, Dylan and Justin are a great core unit of players that are going to have a lot of success here," he said.  "A conference tournament is an entirely different event with a lot more pressure, and they all responded really well.  Justin was just spectacular, he won the last two rounds and hopefully earned an individual spot in the regionals. 
 
        "I also need to thank Kris and John for their four years here," Edwards added.  "They represented the Buffs as good as we could ask.  I appreciate both for all they did and am proud they will both graduate next week."  The duo both majored in Business (Finance).
 
        Edwards had challenged his team after Monday's two rounds where the Buffs recorded 20 "big numbers" (double bogey or worse) that accounted for 47 strokes over par.  How did CU respond?  With a tournament low four over the last two rounds (for seven strokes), topping five by Oregon and Stanford.
 
        Washington's Noah Woolsey wrestled medalist honors away from Stanford's Barclay Brown, who was the leader after both the second and third rounds.  Woolsey shot a 1-over 72 to finish at 8-under 276, while Brown carded a 3-over 74 to finish at 7-under 277.  Oregon's Yuki Moriyama snagged third with a 6-under 278 with Ballester and Biwer rounding out the top five.
 
        Colorado is most likely out of contention for an at-large berth for next month's NCAA Championships, but Biwer should have a legitimate shot at being invited as an individual.  Selections will be announced next Wednesday, May 4, at 2 p.m. MDT on The Golf Channel.
 
        Edwards is excited about the future as he winds down his 17th at the reins of the program.
 
        "The outlook with the guys we have coming back and the players we have coming is as bright as it has ever been in my career here," he said.  "We look forward to being in position to win this tournament in future years and again being nationally competitive with the best teams in the country." 
  

NOTES: The temperature was 44 degrees at the start of the day and warmed into the low 50s; the winds were much calmer and light rain still fell at times … The average score for all 288 rounds settled at 73.55, with a 73.28 figure on Wednesday … The Buffs played the par-3s at 22-over (tied for fourth in the field, but the best in the final round, +1), the par-4s at 49-over (eighth) and the par-5's at 8-over (11th) … CU finished with the fifth-most birdies (76; Washington led with 83) but did finish last in pars (228, three behind USC with ASU on top with 269) … The 1-under 283 by Biwer was the sixth low gross score by a Buff in the Pac-12's as well as in any 72-hole tournament in CU history (1-under ranked as the eighth lowest in the Pac-12's) Biwer Biwer's stroke average "rose" to 70.61 (from 70.59); depending on if he is invited to play in a regional, he will have shattered the CU freshman record that Jeremy Paul set in 2013-14 (72.51); that currently stands second overall to Yannik Paul's season record of 70.24 he set in '17-18 … McDermott came within a hair (or maybe a putt) from the second-best mark, as he finished his frosh season with a 72.52 figure (which did have him finish second on the team ahead of Max (72.64) … Eisenbeis' final average was 73.75 was the ninth-best ever by a Buff frosh, meaning three of the top nine averages were on this team (all but eight of the nine in the Edwards Era) … Biwer also broke Paul's frosh mark for the most top 20 finishes in a season with seven and his season record for most rounds in the 60s (12), subpar rounds (20) and rounds of par or better (22) … The Buffs finished with an 87-86-3 record against Division I competition (including a 2-1 record in match play duals).

BUFFALO INDIVIDUALS

     5.  Justin Biwer  73-74-67-69—283
 T45.  Frederik Eisenbeis  76-72-77-70—295
 T50.  Dylan McDermott  76-78-72-71—297
  57.  John Paterson  72-81-70-76—299
  63.  Adam Matteson  76-76-76-75—303
  66.  Kristoffer Max  77-79-76-74—306

 
 

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS
  1.  Noah Woolsey, Washington  65-71-68-72—276
  2.  Barclay Brown, Stanford  68-67-68-74—277
  3.  Yuki Moriyama, Oregon  68-69-71-70—278
  4.  Jose Ballester, Arizona State  68-70-72-72—282
  5.  Justin Biwer, Colorado  73-74-67-69—283
T6.  Michael Thorbjornsen, Stanford  78-67-70-69—283
T6.  Blake Tomlinson, Utah  72-73-69-70—284
T6.  Jackson Rivera, USC  73-68-74-69—284

 
 

TEAM STANDINGS
   1.  Washington  346-360-354-362—1422
   2.  Stanford  359-353-357-356—1425
   3.  Arizona State  346-364-357-363—1430
   4.  Oregon  349-368-362-353—1432
   5.  California  361-364-367-354—1446
   6.  UCLA  357-358-368-371—1454
   7.  Southern California  362-356-380-358—1456
   8.  Oregon State  357-372-375-359—1463
   8.  Utah  373-362-363-365—1463
 10.  COLORADO  373-379-361-359—1472
 11.  Arizona  372-371-365-368—1476
 12.  Washington State  363-382-363-370—1478