BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — University of Colorado junior Derek Fribbs is tied for 28th individually after the first round of the NCAA Men’s Bowling Green Golf Regional, one of six nationwide to determine the participants in two weeks for the NCAA Finals.
Fribbs fashioned a 38-37—75 score Thursday, 3-over par, with three birdies and nine pars against six bogeys. The Castle Rock resident (Douglas County High), who did not know he would be competing until late Monday afternoon as an injury replacement, alternated with pars and bogeys on his first six holes before settling in to play the last 12 even.
“He’s in good position right now, and with a good second round, he could be in pretty good position come Saturday,” CU head coach Roy Edwards said. “He’s certainly not out of it at this point. All things considered, in as much as a rush as it took him to get here, he did pretty well.”
Fribbs was second on the Buffs in stroke average this past season, with a 73.26 mark. He led the team in subpar rounds with 10 and tied for the team lead with 13 rounds of par or better.
Colorado, ranked as high as No. 68 but shunned as a team entry in the 81-school field by the NCAA Committee for unknown reasons, also surprisingly did not have any individuals originally invited. Fribbs only found out less than three days ago after he shot a 69 in Local U.S. Open Qualifying at Collindale Golf Course in Fort Collins, which advanced him into Sectional Qualifying next month. He thus made the necessary arrangements to get from Denver to Bowling Green, some 60 miles north of Nashville.
The top five teams out of 14 here will advance to the NCAA Finals, as will the top individual from the nine teams that don’t make it or from five golfers playing as individuals. If applied after the first round, Fribbs would stand in 10th place in such a standing.
The 7,248-yard, par-72 The Club at Olde Stone course might have been the winner Thursday, as the average score for the 75-man field was 75.91; over 30 percent of the scores recorded on the day were bogeys or worse. Just six players bettered par, led by co-leaders Pedro Figueiredo of UCLA and Jonathan Fly of Memphis, both who recorded 4-under 68s. Only four others matched par while 10 golfers skied to 80 or higher.
The last Buffalo to participate in the NCAA’s as an individual was Justin Bardgett, doing so his senior season in 2010. He tied for 49th in the Southeast Regional with three straight 76s (for a 12-over 228).
In the team standings, No. 3 UCLA has nearly raced away from the field at this point, with the Bruins’ 4-under 284 score good for a 10-shot edge over No. 34 UT-Chattanooga and Colorado State.
Fribbs will tee off at 11:10 a.m. MDT Friday off the No. 10 tee, paired with golfers from Penn and Alabama State, two automatic qualifiers who hold down the last two spots in the team standings; Fribb’s threesome members did both break 80 on Thursday.