PALO ALTO, Calif. The University of Colorado men’s golf team turned in one of its best rounds of the spring as the Buffaloes are in a tie for fifth after the first round here Thursday in the 50th edition of Stanford’s “The Goodwin.”
Washington, the No. 80 team in the nation, owns the lead through one round, as the Huskies were one of just two teams to turn in an under-par score, a 2-under 278; that leads host and No. 31 Stanford by a shot. The next best scores were a pair of 6-over 286s, recorded by No. 6 Southern California and No. 9 Cal. Colorado is in a three-way tie for fifth at 7-over 287, along with No. 37 Oregon and No. 87 Santa Clara.
The Buffaloes, ranked No. 84 nationally, are in need of a solid finish here to stay well above the .500 mark against Division I competition; the first criteria to qualify for the NCAA Championships; CU comes in with a 73-56-1 mark. Colorado teed off in the morning wave Thursday, and was tied for second out of the 12 teams that started early. If the Buffs can maintain this level of play over the next two rounds, they stand to move up in the rankings as well, with 13 top 50 and 19 top 90 schools in the field. Through one round, the Buffs are besting nine of the top 50 schools and are tied with a 10th.
Junior Daniel O’Loughlin is leading the Buffalo charge, as he returned to his subpar ways with a 3-under 67 n the recently renovated 6,758-yard, par-70 Stanford Golf Course.; that has him tied for the individual lead with two others. CU’s stroke average leader (71.9) had scored seven straight rounds between 73 and 76 but snapped that streak with his 14th round in the red this season. He had a team-high five birdies with 11 pars and just two bogeys, as he scored nines of 34 and 33. He played the par-5s at 2-under, the par-4s at 1-under (second-best in the field) and the par-3’s even for consistency across the board to open play here.
Freshman John Paterson started strong with a 1-over 71, which has him tied for 25th; he played a steady round with three birdies and tied O’Loughlin with a team-best 11 pars opposite four bogeys. Sitting at 3-over par through 12 holes, he finished with two birds down the stretch to pull within one stroke of par. He was solid on the par-4s Thursday, playing them at 1-over (15th best in the field), and was 2-under on the par-5s.
Junior Ross Macdonald carded a 2-over 72, tying him for 37th. He, too, shied away from big numbers as he recorded four birdies and eight pars against six bogeys. He made the turn at 1-under, and would partially be undone by a stretch on the back nine where he scored three straight bogeys. He was 3-under on the par-5s, tied for second-best for the first 18 holes.
Freshman Kristoffer Max carded a 7-over 77, which has him in a tie for 99th place. He had two birdies and nine pars against five bogeys and two doubles, the latter coming in a five-hole stretch (Nos. 9-13) where he was 5-over, accounting for most of his overage on the day.
Sophomore Trevor Olkowski had his troubles Thursday, as he turned in a 14-over 84 score (tying him for 133rd), the worst score of his collegiate career by three shots, and well over his season-high of 76. Despite opening with a birdie, it would be the only red number he’d post for the day. He bogeyed four of his next seven holes, and then really suffered some disaster on No. 9, where he scored his first quadruple bogey of the season and just his second one of his career. He’d finish with as many pars (7) as bogeys, uncharacteristic of his play this year for someone who has scored par or better on just under 82 percent of his holes. It was just the second time in 28 rounds his score didn’t count toward the CU team total.
“Daniel had a really good round, and John and Ross also had pretty nice days,” head coach Roy Edwards said. “That was more like Daniel can play, he is an elite player, and he showed it today. And it was good for John to come out and shoot a 71 from the get-go. We were tied for second after the morning wave, a pretty good spot to be in.
“Trevor just had a bad day, it happens to all of us,” Edwards added. “He’s been working on some stuff, and it kind of culminated today. He’ll come out of it soon, and is already looking better on the range after the round.”
The Buffaloes pulled off something Thursday that might have been a first in program history – or at least something that hasn’t been done in recent memory. All five players started on No. 1 – a 521-yard, par-5 – and birdied the hole.
“It was cold, we were the first people off, and for all of us to birdie the first hole, that’s exactly how you would love to start,” Edwards said of the rare feat. “For that to happen, it probably needs to be a shorter par-5, which it was.”
Stanford’s David Snyder and Santa Clara’s David Ackerman are tied with O’Loughlin for the individual lead. Snyder matched O’Loughlin’s scorecard (34-33), while Ackerman had a 37 on the front nine and blistered the back side with a 30.
Colorado will be paired for the second straight day with San Jose State and Washington, and will tee off from 1:25 to 2:09 p.m. off the No. 10 tee.