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        CORVALLIS, Ore. - The University of Colorado men's golf team played fairly well and is in ninth place at the midway point of the Pac-12 Conference Championship as the first two rounds were completed here Friday.

        No. 3-ranked UCLA assumed the lead after 36 holes, the Bruins posting a 1-under team score of 719; that is good for a 3-stroke lead over No. 7 Oregon (722), with No. 5 Southern California and No. 8 California tied for third at 724.

        The Buffaloes are at the end of the first day logjam, as with a 17-over 737 score, bring up the rear where 18 strokes separate nine teams, with CU just four shots out of sixth and 10 out of fifth.

        The Buffaloes spent much of the first round in as high as second place, with their team score varying between 1- and 3-over par.  But CU's nemesis quite often this season has been a failure to close strong, and that reared its ugly head in the first 18 holes as the five Buffs who scored for the team played the last three holes collectively at 7-over.  The same happened in the second round, with the five scorers playing the last three at 6-over; thus, the last sixth of the course accounted for 13 of CU's 17 strokes over par on the day. 

        This is the first tournament this year for CU with a 6-for-5 format, meaning the best five scores out of six participants count toward the team total.

        Colorado was the only team in the first round not to have a single double bogey (or worse) recorded by any of its six players, which helped the Buffs into a tie for fifth place with an 8-over 368 score with No. 5 USC and No. 12 Washington.  CU's first score in excess of a bogey came on the team's 26th hole of the day, a double bogey 6 on the par-4 No. 8 by freshman David Oraee, who would more than atone for it. The Buffs had just one other hole worse than bogey the entire day, or two doubles in 216 holes of play.

        Combined with typical April weather in Oregon (temperatures in the low 50s. windy at times with light rain on and off throughout the day), the 7,030-yard, par-72 Trysting Tree Golf Club course proved challenging to the field, which includes six of the nation's top 13 teams and 15 of the top 53 individuals.  Only 42 of the 144 rounds recorded Friday were par (16) or better (26), with just nine rounds in the 60s.

        The Buffs did receive fairly balanced play, as only Oregon State and California joined CU with all six of their players in the top 42 at the midway point.

        Oraee, a true freshman from Greeley, shot CU's best score of the day, a 2-under 70, which came in that second round where he scored the double; thanks to five birdies and just one bogey with 11 pars, he matched the second best score ever recorded by a CU freshman in a conference championship.  Combined with his morning 74, his even-par total of 144 has him tied for 13th in the field, with his eight birdies tying for the 10th most Friday. 

        Oraee, who is currently second among all freshmen in the meet, played the par-3s even (tied for sixth best) and the par-5s at 3-under (ninth).  A frosh has posted the best score by a Buff in a conference meet just five times in school history, the last time in 2000 when Kane Webber and Matt Zions were part of a trio to tie for 11th.

        Junior Derek Fribbs is tied for 33rd, posting a 73-75-148 (4-over) scorecard thanks to seven birdies and 19 pars against nine bogeys and the lone other double by a Buff on Friday.  He was even through 15 in both rounds but bogeyed 18 in the morning round and endured a bogey and the double the second time around the track.

        Junior Jason Burstyn opened with a 77 but rallied to shoot par in round two, giving him a 5-over 149 total, tying him for 37th.  He had four birdies and 23 pars against nine bogeys to arrive at his midway point score.  He played the par-3s at 1-over and the par-5s even, among the top 20 in the field in both.

        Senior Kevin Kring and juniors Beau Schoolcraft and Johnny Widmer are all tied for 42nd with 6-over 150 totals, though arriving there in different fashion.

        Kring, the team's stroke average leader (72.6) recorded a team-best 26 pars, a stat he also leads the team in, but could only get two birdies to fall against eight bogeys.  He played the par-3s and the par-5s even Friday.

        Schoolcraft made one of just five eagles in the entire field, to go with three birdies and 21 pars; but 11 bogeys put his six over the equator on the black side.  He is tied for second in the field on the par-5s, playing the eight he teed off on Friday at 4-under.  Part of his undoing was playing the par-3s at 4-over.

        Widmer is playing in just his third tournament this season and the first where he isn't zooming around the links as an individual.  He had a steady day, with four birdies and 22 pars countered by 10 bogeys.  In the morning, he was 3-over through 12 but got it down to plus-1 after birdies on 13 and 15 before closing with a 74; he played the front nine even in the afternoon before enduring four bogeys on the back side for his 76.

        Oregon's Eugene Wong, the Pac-12 stroke average leader at 70.23, was all that he was billed as and more, with the Duck senior leading the medalist race with a 69-68-137 effort.  That is good for a one-shot lead over Stanford's Andrew Yun and a two stroke edge over Patrick Cantlay, the low amateur at The Master's earlier this month.

        Head coach Roy Edwards was not with the team here Friday, as he remained in Boulder with his wife, Shelly, who is due with the couple's second child literally at any minute (she did not have the baby as of press time).  First-year assistant coach Jonathan Levy is handling all the coaching chores in his absence.

        "I thought today was a very strong overall effort from the whole team, and with two rounds remaining we're in prime position for a great finish," Levy said.  "Every one of the six have been playing well recently and I thought today was no exception.

        "These 36 hole days are always long ones and the biggest thing you want to do on these days is stay in the tournament to set up the rest of the week," he continued.  "All in all, we did that today.  We still had a few mistakes coming down the stretch of both rounds that cost us, but we're close enough in there that if we play well tomorrow and Sunday, we can pass some of the top teams in the country and make a mark in our first ever Pac-12 Championship.  It'll be an exciting weekend."

        "This course suits us well - it's right up our alley because it's right there in front of you, with no tricks or surprises.  Oregon State (host) has done a wonderful job in setting up the golf course.  It's playing long because of the cold, humid weather, but it's in absolutely perfect shape and is a fair test for everyone.  It's supposed to be warmer over the next two days, so it's possible we'll see the course shift toward more scoreable conditions."

        Levy was impressed with Oraee's efforts, as he had the double whammy of being a true freshman in his first college league title meet coupled with the school's first appearance in its new conference championship. 

        "I thought David, for a freshman competing in his first Pac-12 Championship, came out with the confidence Coach Edwards and I have known he's capable of showing," Levy said.  "His 70 in round two was downright impressive and his game is firing on all cylinders right now. 

        "I also thought that Johnny Widmer, who hasn't played as part of the starting squad this spring, was a tremendous help to the team because even after struggling with his ball striking in the second round, he scrambled his way around the course to still turn in a score that counted for our total.  And Jason Burstyn also impressed me by adjusting from his mistakes in the morning round to turn in a very solid even-par score in the afternoon."

        The third round will be played Saturday, with tee times beginning at 10 a.m. MDT on the Nos. 1 and 10 tees; Colorado will be paired with Stanford and Washington and will start on the back nine.  The fourth and final round is set for Sunday with a 9 a.m. MDT start, also off each nine. 

        "Our guys are in a good place right now," Levy concluded.  "We have a tendency to steadily improve as our tournaments wear on and with all of our guys feeling good about their games  we're definitely primed to break out with a spectacular final two rounds."




David Oraee




Derek Fribbs




Jason Burstyn




Kevin Kring




Beau Schoolcraft




Johnny Widmer





Eugene Wong, Oregon



Andrew Yun, Stanford



Patrick Cantlay, UCLA



Pedro Figueiredo, UCLA



Daniel Miernicki, Oregon













Southern California



Oregon State






Washington State












Arizona State