ALBUQUERQUE — The University of Colorado men’s golf team started off on a roll here Tuesday but had its struggles down the stretch as the Buffaloes finished the day in the same place it started – 11th place – as the 68th annual New Mexico William H. Tucker Intercollegiate came to a close.
Host New Mexico rallied to claim its home tournament, recording the best team round of the day (13-under 275) to win with a 29-under 835 score. That edged second round leader Texas Tech by three strokes (838); those to separated themselves early from the pack, as San Diego State (850), San Francisco (852) and Nevada-Las Vegas (853) rounded out the top five.
The Buffaloes finished up with a 1-over 289 team score Tuesday, giving them a 2-over 866 for the three rounds. The day started out on a high note, as at one point, CU moved into sixth place and was only three strokes out of third after being 8-under just about halfway through the round. But down the stretch, CU’s scorers had 10 bogeys, a double- and triple-bogey while scoring just six birdies.
“It was a tale of two rounds,” CU head coach Roy Edwards said. “We really had it going and were in great position for a nice finish, but made too many mistakes coming in. We did have some good stuff to build on, but we simply need to get more production and better play from other than the top three guys on the team. We are counting scores that are too high, which is mostly due to inconsistent short game. It’s the most talented team I’ve ever been a part of and I am looking forward to seeing a few guys step up.”
Juniors Justin Beaver and Dylan McDermott and sophomore Hunter Swanson all tied for 18th in the final standings with 2-under par 214 scores on the 7,546-yard, par-72 UNM Championship Course.
Biwer opened with two subpar rounds (69, 71) before closing with a 2-over 74; after opening Tuesday with a bogey on the par-4- 13th, he bounced right back with two straight birdies, and then after three pars, had back-to-back birds on Nos. 1 and 2. But a run of four straight bogeys on Nos. 5 through 8 sent to the unhappy side of par and he eventually finished with sixth and final bogey.
McDermott fashioned CU’s best score in the final round – a 3-under 69 – one of just 11 scores in the 60s recorded Tuesday, as the course played the toughest of the three rounds. He opened up with five straight pars and then scored birdies on four of the next seven holes, followed by his lone bogey of the day. For the tournament, he had 11 birdies, a team-high 34 pars and nine bogeys.
Swanson wrapped things here with a second straight subpar round, this time a 1-under 71, as he opened with a birdie and closed with one on his 17th hole (parring his last). He had double-bogeyed the par-3 16th, but came back on No. 1 to score an eagle, his second of the meet. He added 11 birdies and 30 pars while playing the par-5s this week at 8-under, which tied for the eighth-best in the 104-man field.
Junior Frederik Eisenbeis tied for 72nd after he finished with a 3-over 75 for a 9-over 225 tally. He had a strong start, with four birdies on his first nine holes (Nos. 15 through 5), but a bogey on No.6 and a triple on No. 7 brought him back to even. He then parred his next five holes before closing with a double and a bogey to thrust him to 3-over. He had a team-high 12 birdies and 26 pars for the event.
Freshman Brandon Knightplaying in his first college event as a team scorer, had some notable moments but struggled to a final round 77, which gave him an overall score of 11-over 227 to tie for 82nd. He parred his first five holes Tuesday and was 1-under through 10 before he ran into trouble, playing the next four holes at 5-over par. For the tourney, he had an eagle, seven birdies and 27 pars.
San Diego State’s Tyler Kowack claimed medalist honors, finishing with a 67 that gave him an 11-under par 205 total. That was good to edge Texas Tech’s Tyran Snyders, the second round leader, and his teammate Calum Scott by one stroke.
The Buffaloes will return to action in a week, hosting the 13th annual Mark Simpson-CU Invitational at Colorado National Golf Club in Erie (next Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 2-3).
NOTES: The average score for all three rounds (312) was 73.45with the highest of the three for Tuesday’s last 18 (74.00) … There were 30 players under par with six others finishing even … The Buffs tied for fourth in eagles (4), tied for 10th in birdies (51) and were 12th in pars (152) … The Buffs played the par-5 holes here the best at 24-under, which tied for ninth in the field; they were 20-over on the par-4s (tied for sixth) and 18-over on the par-3s … Biwer’s 74 marked just the 14th round out of 80 in his career where he shot higher than a 73 (nine of those are 74s, with a high of 77) … Biwer has the early lead on the top of CU’s averages list (69.50), followed closely by Swanson (69.83) and McDermott (70.33) … Biwer recorded his 17th subpar tournament and McDermott his 16th, as they rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in CU history; it was the fourth for Swanson … Colorado and New Mexico State are the only schools to join host New Mexico in playing in all 68 Tucker events, dating back to 1955; the Buffaloes best finish here remains second four times, last in 2012.
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