Colorado men’s golf is looking to return to prominence A program that boasts 27 NCAA championship appearances under legends Les Fowler and Mark Simpson and current head coach Roy Edwards has failed to make a trip to the NCAA finals since 2002. Judging by the squad’s early performance, Edwards could have a group that could challenge in postseason next spring.
Colorado began the season by hosting the Mark Simpson Invitation, named after the late CU head coach. The Buffs, who jumped out to a big early lead on the first day, held off New Mexico and nationally ranked Oklahoma to win.
“It was a very strong field,” Edwards told CUBuffs.com. “It’s hard to win golf tournaments. This is the most important event on our regular season schedule, and to win a tournament that we have for Mark Simpson is really special and important to us.”
Junior Beau Schoolcraft had a huge weekend for the Buffaloes, as the UCLA transfer recorded back-to-back 66s on his scorecard in the first two rounds, finishing tied for first individually. Senior Kevin Kring tied for fifth, shooting at or below 70 all three rounds.
CU’s next stop was the Miranda Falcon Invitational at Air Force. Colorado finished all 54 holes tied for first with UNLV. The fate of the tournament was decided by a one-hole playoff. Colorado shot even par on the par-4 first hole, while UNLV went two-under par. Colorado narrowly missed out on winning back-to-back tournaments for the first time in program history.
“We did some nice things down the stretch that allowed us to be tied with UNLV,” said Edwards.
Kring averaged a 70 in the three rounds in Colorado Springs, and fellow senior, Dubai native Sebastian Heisele and junior Derek Fribbs turned in solid performances and tied for eighth place.
CU headed east, to Holyoke, Colo., and the Ballyneal Golf and Hunt Club, to take on Colorado State in the Colorado Cup, a Ryder Cup-style head-to-head matchup, with seven singles matches and three four-ball matches.
CSU captured four of the singles matches and two four-balls to win 6-4. The loss was a setback for CU, seeing as they easily outshot the Rams in both the Simpson and the Miranda Falcon.
“We’re obviously disappointed in the outcome,” said Edwards. “We came here expecting to win. This is an incredible opportunity for both programs in the head-to-head format, and CSU was just better today.”
Winning their matches were Fribbs, freshman David Oraee (a Greeley West grad) and Kring. The only Buff pairing to win a four-ball matchup was composed of Schoolcraft and Heisele.
The fall season has been kind to Colorado, as CU sports a 30-0-1 record against division one competition in tournament stroke play. The minimum winning percentage required to gain entrance to Regionals for the NCAA tournament is .500. The Buffs seem to have that in hand.
Colorado will head south to take part in New Mexico’s William H. Tucker Invitational on Friday and Saturday. The competition will get far more stringent, as top-20 San Diego State travels to Albuquerque, among others. The tournament should give Edwards and his team an opportunity to see how they stack up against the best in intercollegiate golf.
Rounding out the fall season will be a trip to Fairfax, Calif., for the Alister Mackenzie Invitational. The spring season will start in February and conclude with conference and NCAA championships in late May into early June.