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
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