ERIE — The University of Colorado men's golf team came out blazing in tying the tournament single round record and ended the day in first place in its own 8th Annual Mark Simpson-Colorado Invitational.
The Buffaloes own a 15-under team score of 561, largely due to a 13-under 275 effort to open the event. But the tournament is far from over, as Wyoming is just two strokes off the pace at 563 with Utah four back at 565; two others are within range as well, as rounding out the top five are Oregon State (570) and Air Force (571).
"We're happy to be leading," CU head coach Roy Edwards
said. "We came out strong and put a good score into the books, but as a team, we struggled late into the second round. But I was really proud of the way the guys competed during that time to keep us in the lead."
Senior Spencer Painton
is pacing the Buffalo attack – as well as leading the tournament overall – as he fashioned a 65-70—135 scorecard to stand at 9-under par through 36 holes on the 7,745-yard, par-72 Colorado National Golf Club course layout. He was on fire in the morning, scoring eight birdies and nine pars with just a single bogey as he turned in his collegiate career best round. He had five birdies and 10 pars in the second round, as his 13 birdies overall also lead the meet. He played all holes under par, 4-under on both the par-4s and 5s, and was 1-under on the par-3s.
Painton owns a two stroke lead over Air Force's Bryant Falconello, who was the only player in the field to record two scores in the 60s (69-68). Three others are three strokes back.
Sophomore Daniel O'Loughlin
continued his smooth transition after transferring from McNeese State this past summer. He turned in a 68-72—140, which has him tied for ninth, as he opened with a bogey-free round (four birdies, 14 pars) and had two birds and 14 pars and just two bogeys in round two. He has now played 144 holes as Buffalo with just one hole worse than a bogey.
Senior John Souza
and sophomore Victor Bjorlow
are tied for 19th, as both finished off Monday at 1-under par 143. Souza had six birdies, 25 pars and five bogeys, while Bjorlow scored CU's lone eagle with six birdies, 22 pars and seven bogeys. Bjorlow, in fact, had one of just three eagles on the day.
Sophomore Ross Macdonald
struggled for the most part on Monday, turning in a 77-78—155 (11-over) score, which has him tied for 103rd. His troubles can be traced to one hole – the 626-yard, par-5 No. 2, which was his last hole in each round; he doubled it in the morning and then tripled it the second time.
The Buffaloes are competing without one of their top players, senior Yannik Paul
, who is sidelined with some back pain that has lingered for a couple of weeks
CU is playing the par-5s at 11-under, the par-4s at 5-under and the par-3s at 1-over; Utah is practically an enigma, as they lead the field in both par-4 (9-under) and par-5 (14-under) scoring, but are dead last in par-3 scoring at 14-over.
Four other Buffs are participating as a "B" team, but are omitted from the official standings. They played solid as a unit Monday, and would be tied for 12th in the standings – and that's without the benefit of a fifth golfer in the traditional five-score-four format.
Leading the way is true freshman Trevor Olkowski
, who turned in a 68-72—140 scorecard, which has him tied for ninth; he put up a bogey free round in the morning with four birdies and 14 pars, and came back with two birdies and 14 pars with just two bogeys the second time around the CNGC track. Overall, he had six birdies and tied for the team-high with 28 pars.
CU's other true frosh, Cole Krantz
, had a steady performance with a 73-71—144, with his even-par score tying him for 27th. He had seven birdies and 22 pars against seven bogeys
Junior Wilson Belk
turned in a 77-71—148 card, tying him for 65th, as after going birdie-less in the first round he charged back with a team-high six in the second. He logged 22 pars, six bogeys and two doubles otherwise.
Rounding out the Buff contingent Monday was senior Kade Crossland
, as he is tied for 78th with a 77-73—150 effort. He scored three birdies and 24 pars against nine bogeys on his day.
"Spencer obviously had a good day," Edwards said. "I thought Daniel was really good until the last half-dozen holes. He had a good day overall and is in good position. Trevor went 30 holes before his first bogey, that's really impressive. Victor did a really nice job, today, too, stepping in at the last minute in place of Yannik in the lineup. And John finished with a couple birdies down the stretch which really helped us.
"Kade, Cole and Wilson all had really nice second rounds," he added. "And even though his score didn't reflect it, I saw a lot of good things from Ross today and we expected him to have a solid final round. We're really looking toward to competing for the title tomorrow, individually and as a team."
The third and final round of the tournament will commence Tuesday in a staggered shotgun format; the top four teams will play in five tee times off No. 1 beginning at 7:55 a.m. with the remainder of the field starting in a shotgun at 8:15.
(*—playing as an individual.)
||Spencer Painton, Colorado
||Bryant Falconello, Air Force
||Felix Mory, CSU-Northridge
||Tyler Moore, UC-Riverside
||Kyle Dunkle, Utah
||UT-Rio Grande Valley