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        AUBURN, Ala. — The University of Colorado men’s golf team recorded its best opening round performance in an NCAA regional in 20 years here Thursday, with the Buffaloes standing in fourth place after day one of the Southeast/Auburn Regional.

       No. 1 and defending national champion Alabama was the only team to record a round under par, and barely at that, as the Crimson Tide finished the first round with a 1-under par score of 287.  That’s good for a healthy six-stroke lead over No. 13 and 2012 champion Texas, in with a 5-over 293 score, with No. 21 Auburn third (294).   

       Colorado, ranked No. 48, closed the first round at 8-over 296, spending much of the day in the top five.  The Buffs got off to a good start, and early on were at one point tied for the lead with Alabama at 3-under par, when all CU players had completed five holes and the Crimson Tide’s eight.  Colorado then took over the top spot for a short time, but in a span of just a few minutes, three double bogeys, along with two bogeys that were countered with two birdies, sent CU’s team score from minus-3 to plus-3 and the Buffs fell from first to seventh.

       The last time a CU team opened with a better standing in a regional was in 1994, when the Buffs were tied for third after the first round of the Central Regional in Oklahoma City; Colorado went on to finish second, it’s best ever regional effort.

       The top five teams and the top individual who is not on those squads will advance to the NCAA Championship Finals, which are scheduled for May 23-28 in Hutchinson, Kan.

       “We got off to a pretty good start, then hit a rough patch in the middle of the round and for the most part finished fairly well,” CU head coach Roy Edwards said.  “On the negative side, we made too many big numbers, but I’m proud of the way the guys battled through it.  It was a pretty tough day out there, the wind was swirling.  It was tough to score, the conditions weren’t the best and the course is very hilly and tree lined.  We probably hit a few too many off line, but likely fewer than most (teams) did.  We didn’t play our best, but we’re pleased with where we’re at.” 

        The numbers back up Edwards’ assertion that it was tough sledding: only one round was scored in the 60s, just 10 under par overall and three others that equaled it on the 7,254-yard, par-72 Auburn University Club layout.  Conversely, there were 14 scores in the 80s and the average score for the 75-man field was 76.11.   Part of the reason for the tougher conditions was the fact that the start of the tournament was delayed due to heavy rainfall on Wednesday and groundskeepers needed more time to prepare the course, which was still soggy in locations well into the morning.

         The Buffs were led by freshman Yannik Paul, who had a very steady round that featured five birdies, 10 pars and three bogeys; he put a 2-under 70 into the books and is tied for second individually, posting the best score in the field by the 20 freshmen competing here, one shot better than Texas’ Beau Hossler.  He played the par-4s at 1-under Thursday, tied for third best in the field, with the five birdies ties for second most.   

         “Yannik’s 70 was a really good score today, and coming off of being sick, it was that much more of a solid performance,” Edwards said.  “His bad shots were pretty good, and that was a key to his round.” 

         Junior David Oraee turned in a 4-over 74, which has him tied for 20th; he had two birdies, 13 pars, two bogeys and a double to open his effort here, with his par total tied for the sixth-most in the field.  He essentially had one bad two-hole stretch Thursday, where he scored his double on No. 7 and followed that with a bogey; from that point on, he played out his last 10 holes at 1-under par, which was a solid performance and bested by only one player in the top 13.

       Freshman Jeremy Paul, also recuperating from the same virus that hit his younger twin, fashioned a 3-over 75 and is tied for 28th, and the seventh-best score by a frosh Thursday. He had three birdies, 11 pars and three bogeys, with his overage traced to just his third triple bogey of his season, an 8 he had to take on the par-5 No. 12. He played the 10 par-4 holes even on the day, eighth best in the field.

        Sophomore Philip Juel-Berg scored a 5-over 77, tying him for 46th, as he had one birdie, 11 pars and six bogeys to open play here. He bogeyed four of his first six holes before finding his rhythm, settling down to play his last dozen at 1-over.

        Freshman Ethan Freeman rounded out the CU quintet, as he fired a 7-over 79, most of his overage traced directly to three double bogeys; otherwise he had two birdies, 10 pars and three bogeys.  Though tied for 58th at present, he’s played the challenging par-3 holes here even, tied for 12th best in the field.

        Louisville’s Robin Sciot-Siegrist carded the lone round in the 60s, a 3-under 69, to lead Paul and Auburn’s Niclas Carlsson by one stroke heading into the second round.
        Since this marks the first time in a long time that Colorado isn’t playing from behind after day one at a regional, meaning the Buffs weren’t above the cut line, several ranked teams will be attempting to regroup.  In this game, five teams that are ranked ahead of CU, including No. 12 Virginia Tech and No. 25 New Mexico, but Edwards is more concerned with his team doing what it needs to do.
        “You can’t be concerned with anybody else,” he said.  “We’ve got to keep focusing on what we do when we play well, which is to play with confidence and just enjoy the game, have fun.  If we do that, we’ll be fine.”   
        Colorado will tee off at 7:20 a.m. (MDT) Friday off the No. 1 tee, with the Buffs again paired with both Kennesaw State and Louisville, who are tied for fifth, one stroke back of CU.  The field will be re-paired according to score for Saturday’s rounds, with tee times falling between 6:30 and 8:50 a.m.
NOTES: The 14 scores in the 80s were one more than those recorded at par or better ... Colorado was in sixth place after the first round last year in the Central/Fayetteville Regional, eventually finishing eighth ... There were no eagles recorded on Thursday ... Only Alabama’s five players combined to have less bogeys (14) than the Buffaloes (17) in the first round ... The Buffs entered this event with a 121-42-7 record against Division I competition, but had seen just five of the other 13 teams competing here.




Yannik Paul



David Oraee



Jeremy Paul



Philip Juel-Berg



Ethan Freeman




Robin Sciot-Siegrist, Louisville



Yannik Paul, Colorado



Niclas Carlsson, Auburn



Seven players tied
















Kennesaw State









Brigham Young



UC Davis



Sam Houston State



Virginia Tech



New Mexico



Alabama State



St. John’s