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Stevinson Ranch Invitational College Tournament
28 Mar 2006
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Story by David Plati, University of Colorado

STEVINSON, CA (March 28, 2006) -- The University of Colorado men's golf team won its first tournament in two years here Tuesday, though needed some help from mother nature to do it.

Heavy rain and lightning forced the cancellation of the eighth annual CU-Stevinson Ranch Invitational, and when the scores reverted back to the standings after Monday's second round, Colorado was declared the winner.

It was the first time that the host Buffaloes won the meet, and CU's first win in one of its own meet for the first time since 1989, when it claimed the inaugural, and now defunct, CU-Fox Acres Invitational.

The Buffaloes were in fourth after the first round, but used a solid second round to assume the lead after 36 holes.

When play was called, players had anywhere from one to four holes to finish. CU entered the final round with a one shot lead over Kansas State, with Drake four back, Wichita State five off the lead, Boise State six behind and Missouri and Illinois State nine back. The Buffs top four players were 27-over par with three holes left, while Missouri's were nine-over, KSU's 15-over and Drake's 29-over. Wichita State and Boise State 's totals at that point were unknown, but with Missouri's players having to play two of the toughest holes into the wind, all signs pointed to K-State being able to hold off the Buffs down the stretch.

The rules call for a full 18 holes to be played, unless the coaches were to agree to count nine holes, which has rarely happened and only if the entire field played the same nine, which was not the case Tuesday with a shotgun start on the 7,206-yard, par-72 Stevinson Ranch Golf Club course.

"A win is a win, but I wish we could have finished the tournament," interim head coach Brad Neher said. "It's never easy to call it. There is no room for error in college golf on the final round day. With airfare, budgets and school, you just can't do anything. So it was disappointing to call it, and while still a win, you just don't have that same feeling of exuberance you would if you had won it coming off a final round."

"But I still liked everything we did, and it continues to give us a barometer to accomplish the goals we want to this year," Neher added. "They were battling, and the course was playing brutally tough. You never know what's going to happen on a day like this until the last ball in the last hole. All it takes is one or two big numbers to throw things out of whack. And with teams playing different parts of the golf course, you can't guess as to what the final numbers would have been."

The Buffs, ranked No. 50, and Missouri (No. 44) were the highest ranked Division I schools participating here. CU evened the season series at one apiece with the Tigers, both a conference and district rival.

Oklahoma City junior Daniel Mitchell was also declared the medalist for the meet, as his 70-74-144 scorecard stood for a one-stroke win over Drake's Ross Hamann. It's only the second time in the tournament that the individual winner was not under par; the other occasion came in 2000, when Kansas' Ryan Vermeer won with a 1-over 217 score. No individual was below 2-over when play was called (Mitchell was 4-over), so had 54 holes been played, this year's winner likely would have set a record for winning with the highest score.

TOP FIVE INDIVIDUALS

1. Daniel Mitchell, Oklahoma City 70-74-144 2. Ross Hamann, Drake 76-69-145 3. Ben Kern, Kansas State 73-73-146 T4. Matt Miller, Illinois State 72-75-147 T4. Cameron Bishop 73-74-147

TEAM SCORES

1. COLORADO 298-298-596 2. Kansas State 295-302-597 3. Drake 303-297-600 4. Wichita State 297-304-601 5. Boise State 306-296-602 6. Illinois State 300-305-605 6. Missouri 306-299-605 8. CSU-Stanislaus 297-310-607 9. Birmingham Southern 298-312-610 10. Oklahoma City 308-307-615 11. Iowa State 311-307-618 12. CSU-Chico 309-315-624 12. CSU-Monterey Bay 322-302-624 14. Air Force 323-311-634

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