Related Links

        CORVALLIS, Ore. - The University of Colorado inched up one spot here Sunday into an eighth place finish as the Buffaloes completed their first effort in the Pac-12 Conference Men's Golf Championships after joining the league last July.

        No. 8 California, which started the day in third and six strokes back, rallied to catch No. 7 Oregon and force a playoff.  After tying on the first playoff hole (No. 18), the Bears prevailed on the second (No. 16), beating the Ducks by five shots.  The two were tied after 72 holes with 12-under par team scores of 1,428 as both were battling for their first-ever Pac-12 title dating back to the days of the Pac-8.

        As for Colorado, the Buffs entered the day in ninth and had a goal of overtaking No. 12 Washington and Washington State, with the three paired together and separated by eight shots.  The Huskies kept CU at bay, but both scooted well past the Cougars.  CU finished with a 1,471 team score, its third best in its history in a 72-hole meet in relation to par.  The Buffs opened better than any other team Sunday, the five scorers playing the first three holes at 5-under; Colorado went on to shoot a 7-over 367, matching its third round score and best in the four after opening with rounds of 368 and 369 on Friday.

        In the end, just 43 strokes separated the top eight teams; that's 40 golfers over 2,880 holes, or 0.015 strokes per for those who like to analyze the numbers.

        Junior Jason Burstyn posted CU's top individual finish - 26th - as he closed things out Sunday with an even-par 72 for a 72-hole score of 292 on the 7,030-yard, par-72 Trysting Tree Golf Club course.  After opening with a 5-over 77 and bogeying his first two holes of the second round, Burstyn played the last 52 holes at 3-under par.  He led the Buffaloes on the weekend with 47 pars, 16th most in the field, and tied for the second most birdies (11) and fewest bogeys (13); his lone double bogey unfortunately came Sunday on No. 12 after he opened play with birdies on 10 and 11.

        Burstyn's 292 score was the third best ever posted by a Buff linkster in a 72-hole conference championship.

        Freshman David Oraee wrapped things up with a 1-over 73, giving him a 5-over 293 score that tied him for 27th; he tied for sixth among the 20-plus freshmen competing.  The 293 was also the best 72-hole score ever recorded by a CU freshman in any tournament and tied for the fourth best by a golfer in any class for a conference championship.

        For a true frosh playing under pressure in his first collegiate championship, Oraee had a solid week with 11 birdies and 46 pars, with those 57 holes of par or better second most by a Buff to the 58 by Burstyn.  Oraee had just 14 bogeys and one double to round out his week's scorecard.   

        Junior Derek Fribbs was the third Buff in the standings, tying for 37th after a 4-over 76 in the final round finished him up with a 9-over 297 score.  He had CU's most birdies in the meet, 12, but just one Sunday, when a double bogey on the par-3 No. 17 meant turning at 4-over before digging in and playing the front nine even.  He also had 43 pars to go against 13 bogeys and four doubles.

        Senior Kevin Kring turned in CU's best and only sub-70 score of the tournament with a 3-under 69.  That enabled him to move up some 22 spots in the standings to tie for 43rd when it was over with 12-over 300 score.  After just scoring two birdies in the 54 holes, he came back with six Sunday, to go with nine pars and just three bogeys.  He had no other scores the entire 72 holes, finishing with eight birdies, 44 pars and 20 bogeys.

        Kring shot an 81 in the third round, and his 12-stroke improvement between rounds matched the second best ever by a Buffalo in a conference championship; the only bigger margin was 14 strokes, by Jonathan Kaye in the 1991 Big 8 Championship, where he had a final round 73 after a second round 87.

        Junior Johnny Widmer, the team's No. 6 man, struggled for the first time all weekend Sunday.  After rounds of 74, 76 and 73, all of which counted toward the team score, he shot a 9-over 81 to finish with a 304 total, tying him for 57th.  Standing even after five holes in the final round, he had a bad patch where he played the next eight at 9-over, which included back-to-back doubles and five bogeys, and then finished even again over the last five.    

        It was just Widmer's third tournament this season and the first where he wasn't playing as an individual.  He is on schedule to graduate this summer and has indicated that he will forego a fifth year of eligibility and get on his with his post-golf life.Junior Beau Schoolcraft finished up with a 5-over 77 which gave him a 13-over 301 score for the tournament, tying him for 47th.  He was 1-over after six holes, but then scored a double and a bogey back to back to run at 4-over; he settled in for the most part but then scored another double on his next to last hole.  Otherwise, he had three birdies and nine pars on the round, and for the weekend, logged in nine birdies and 40 pars while scoring one of just 12 eagles in the entire 72-man field.

        Stanford junior Andrew Yun fired a final round 68 to jump from third into medalist honors, posting a 13-under 275 score, using as a catalyst and eagle on the par-4 No. 8 hole Sunday.  That bested a pair Oregon seniors, Daniel Miernicki (71-277) and Eugene Wong, who led after the second and third rounds but shot a 73 Sunday for a 9-under 279, matched by USC's Sam Smith.  Wong, the conference stroke average leader coming in (70.2) also struggled in the playoff, being one of two Ducks to double bogey the second and deciding playoff hole.

Head coach Roy Edwards did not surface in Corvallis for the tournament, as he remained in Boulder with         his wife, Shelly; they are expecting their second child at any time and did have two false alarms in the last five days.  First-year assistant coach Jonathan Levy assumed all the coaching duties in Edwards' absence.

        "Today was indicative of a lot of rounds we've had this year," Levy said.  "We were very close to playing well, but in the end turned out just a good, solid performance."

        "Kevin came back the way a senior leader should today," he noted of his 12-stroke improvement between his third and final rounds.  "He adjusted from his mistakes yesterday and showed up determined to fire a good round that was huge in helping us pass Washington State.  I'm also very proud of the way Jason and David finished off their weeks.  Those two were the backbone of our team in this tournament and I think their performances are a great barometer of what we can expect next year." 

        Colorado came in ranked No. 72 by Golfweek and GolfStat; six conference teams were ranked in the top 12.  The Buffaloes' task for a goal of no less than fifth place finish would have meant defeating the three teams ranked behind them and Washington State, which they did, and then having to scoot by two ranked teams plus a very good Oregon State team playing on its home course.

        "Overall, we did what we had to do today.  We moved up in the field and were very close to catching Washington, who is one of the best teams in the country.  Finishing eighth in our first Pac-12 wasn't the best of what we're capable of, but considering the depth of this conference and our position of garnering a bid for the postseason, I think our guys stood up very well  to the difficult challenge they faced this week."

        "We can't emphasize how much we missed Coach Edwards this week," Levy wanted to note.  "He puts his heart and soul into this team and I know it hasn't been easy for him to watch from the sidelines while he and Shelly are waiting for the baby to come.  We're all hoping everything goes smoothly with them back home and can't wait to hear the good news."

        The Buffaloes are now in a waiting game until May 7, when the selections will be announced for the six NCAA Regional sites; 81 teams and 45 individuals will advance to the postseason.

        "Hopefully, with this finish, we did enough to secure our NCAA Regional bid," Levy concluded.  "We hung close with Washington who is ranked No. 12 in the country and beat Arizona significantly, who is also ranked ahead of us, so that should help our cause and we're excited for the opportunity to continue our season in May."

NOTES: Colorado was the last team to have one of its players score higher than a bogey here (on its 26th hole), and in the entire tournament, had just 11 doubles in 360 holes, with just four recorded by the fifth and sixth men (Oraee and Widmer) ... Colorado has one day of competition left that it can schedule; Edwards indicated there is a chance they will play the Fowler Cup, a day of alumni matches, somewhere between the end of finals and the start of regional play (May 17), which would also be dependent on the U.S. Open Qualifying schedules for the Buff participants ... The golfers had a second straight day of decent weather with no precipitation, with temperatures into the low 60s with winds occasionally gusting to around 11 miles per hour.  The first two rounds Friday saw temperatures get no warmer than 52 with light rain on and off throughout and winds up to 18 mph ... All in all, Colorado fared extremely well in its first tournament this year with a 6-for-5 format, where the best five scores out of six participants count toward the team total, instead of the usual 5-for-4, especially since the Buffaloes only have seven acive players: two freshmen are redshirting and the team lost one of its top two players, Sebastian Heisele, when he decided to turn professional after graduating in December.     




Jason Burstyn




David Oraee




Derek Fribbs




Kevin Kring




Beau Schoolcraft




Johnny Widmer






Andrew Yun, Stanford



Daniel Miernicki, Oregon



Eugene Wong, Oregon



Sam Smith, USC



Patrick Cantlay, UCLA



Brandon Hagy, California











Southern California






Oregon State












Washington State






Arizona State





*-won title on second playoff hole.