BANDON, Ore. - Wherever that team was two weeks ago, leave them there. The University of Colorado men's golf team, coming off a last place effort in its last tournament, now owns the lead with one round remaining in the Bandon Dunes Championship.
Thanks to steady play, Colorado has four players in the top 10 and a 1-over par 577 team score through 36 holes, good for a six-stroke lead over San Jose State (583) and seven over No. 49 Oregon (584). In late February, the Buffaloes had finished 15th (last) in The Prestige at PGA West.
The Buffs, ranked No. 79 this week, currently have the advantage over eight teams ranked ahead of them, including No. 3 Washington and No. 14 SMU (No. 2 UCLA sent their second five here, but it would still count as a win). CU's performance couldn't come at a better time, as the Buffaloes need to pick up wins to get back over the .500 mark against Division I. Colorado opened the spring in two of the tougher tournaments of the year and went 1-28 against those fields to fall to 42-52 on the year.
"Today was another solid day by the Buffs," Colorado head coach Roy Edwards said. "We only had one double bogey all day and that was huge for us. "We really didn't do anything spectacular; we were just smart and stayed focused."
That lone double bogey was by senior Jason Burstyn on his very first hole (No. 11); he then bogeyed 12 to go 3-over, but birdied four of the next six before closing with 11 straight pars for a 1-under 71 on the 6,859-yard, par-72 Old Macdonald Course; his 1-under 143 total has him tied for third, just three strokes off the lead.
CU four scorers on Saturday were as steady as can be in difficult conditions, temperatures in the upper 40s to low 50s with winds gusting to 15 miles per hour at times. They collectively had 16 birdies and 43 pars against 12 bogeys and that one double in recording the best team round of the spring and sixth of season with a 2-under 286.
"Jason and Derek played particularly well, and David and Philip were strong as well," Edwards said. "The guys have really been working on minimizing mistakes and they did another good job of that today.
I know they are very excited to get out there again tomorrow and compete. Most of these guys have played with a lead before, so it shouldn't be foreign to them. It is you against the elements out here and the toughest players play the best."
Senior Derek Fribbs carded a 2-under 70, CU's low round of the tournament to finish up 36 holes at an even-par 144, which has him tied for seventh. He had a consistent round with a team-best five birdies, 10 pars and just three bogeys.
Sophomore David Oraee and freshman Philip Juel-Berg are tied for 10th with 1-over par 145 scorecards. Juel-Berg shot an even-par 72 in the second round (four birdies, 10 pars, four bogeys), while Oraee turned in a 73 on the strength of three birdies, 11 pars and four bogeys. Juel-Berg was 2-under before bogeying two of his last three holes, whereas Oraee was 3-over with eight holes to play, but scored back-to-back birdies before scoring pars on his last six of the day.
Redshirt freshman Drew Trujillo is playing in his first tournament where his scores count toward the CU team total. After struggling to an 83 on Friday, he bounced back fairly strong with a 3-over 75 (three birds, nine pars, six boges). He got a lift early by scoring a birdie on his first hole of the day.
Pacific's Byron Meth shot the low score of the tournament, a 4-under 68 (one of just five in the 60s through two days) to post a 4-under 140 total to grab the individual lead. He is one ahead of Fresno State's Troix Tonkham, who was a first-round co-leader at 2-under and added a 71 Saturday for a 143 total.
The final round is set for Sunday and will be a shotgun start at 10 a.m. MDT; the Buffs are paired with Oregon and San Jose State and will tee off on holes 1 through 3.
View results for Bandon Dunes Collegiate Championship Golf Tournament