Golfers Set To Open 2022-23 Season At Notre Dame
BOULDER — The University of Colorado men's golf team will open the fall portion of its schedule Sunday in the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Invitational in South Bend, Ind.
The opener is breaking with some tradition, as CU has opened its fall season down Interstate 25 in Colorado Springs in Air Force's Gene Miranda Invitational six of the last nine years. The Buffs will play in the 53rd annual edition of that tournament later in the week (Sept. 9-11).
"With Notre Dame moving their tournament up to Labor Day weekend, we are starting a little bit earlier than normal this year," said CU head coach Roy Edwards, who is in his 17th season as CU's head coach. "Qualifying was very competitive amongst the team and we are excited to get to South Bend and compete this weekend. We will see a really strong field and it is a tremendous opportunity to set the tone early in the season."
The 54-hole tournament will be played over two days on the Notre Dame's Warren Golf Course, a par-70 layout that spans some 7,023 yards. Play features 36 holes on Sunday with a 6:30 a.m. MDT shotgun start and the final 18 on Monday with a 6 a.m. start off the No. 1 and 10 tees. The Buffs will play a couple of practice rounds Friday and Saturday after playing Butler National in Chicago on Thursday.
The weather could be a challenge, as the forecast calls for the possibility of rain throughout Sunday with thunderstorms in the afternoon; the outlook is better for Monday. Temperatures should be in the upper 60s and low 70s both days, and the wind does not appear to be much of a factor at this point.
The Buffaloes will get tested right out of the gate; 15 schools will be competing in the event; in addition to CU and host Notre Dame, California, Florida, Georgia Southern, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Kent State, LSU, Michigan State, North Carolina, Utah and Virginia Tech. Three finished in the nation's top 20 last year (UNC No. 5, Florida No. 9, Notre Dame No. 16), with seven in the top 50.
Edwards has high expectations for his team, despite it being perhaps one of the youngest in school history; the squad's makeup consists of one senior, six sophomores and two freshmen. The Buffs lose just two seniors off its 2021-22 team, Kristoffer Max and John Paterson, both of whom had fine careers and finished it off by once again earning All-America Scholar recognition. Otherwise, seven lettermen do return for 2022-23.
Senior Adam Matteson is the team's elder statesman, with five sophomores who played for CU last year: Justin Biwer, Frederik Eisenbeis, Jack Holland, Jack Hughes and Dylan McDermott. Three newcomers include sophomore Tucker Clark, who transferred to CU from Notre Dame and who knows the Warren Course extremely well, and freshmen Robby Keilch and Hunter Swanson. Biwer set 19 school records as a true freshman, including a 70.91 stroke average that shattered the team's frosh mark.
For the inaugural tournament of the year, Edwards will have Biwer, McDermott, Clark, Swanson and Hughes – four sophomores and a true freshman – play the 1-through-5 positions to account for team scoring.
CU will be paired with Cal and Kent State for the first two rounds, starting on holes 11 through 13. The Buffaloes finished ninth out of 14 teams here a year ago, but McDermott shined, as he finished third with a 7-under par 203 effort. And of course Clark being a Notre Dame transfer knows the course well and Biwer is coming off two match play wins in the U.S. Amateur.
"We have a special group of players and people," Edwards said. "As young as last year's team was, this team is even younger. At the same time, we expect to be very competitive both as a team and individually. Dylan and Justin took huge steps forward this summer and they dominated qualifying. If we work hard, compete, and believe in ourselves as best as we possibly can, this team will go a long way. It's competitive one to nine and I would not be surprised to see everyone on the roster in the mix to be in our starting lineup."