The Rams came in as the two-time defending champions and left with a third straight title at the Ram Masters Invitational.
The Colorado State University men’s golf team hosted and won the 2016 Ram Masters Invitational on Monday and Tuesday. The 54-hole tournament was held at Fort Collins Country Club (Par 70 – 7,218 yards).
Day one was a 36-hole day for the athletes, and the Rams came out with a solid start as they finished the day in fourth place at a 7-over 567 thanks to a 4-over 284 and a 3-over 283 from the first and second rounds.
The Wichita State Shockers and Air Force Falcons led the way after the first day, as both team’s carding in a 3-over 563, four shots ahead of the Rams. The Nevada Wolfpack was in third at a 6-over 566 and Sacramento State rounded out the top five at an 8-over 568.
CSU also had a second team in the event, who finished at a 46-over 606 in 17th place after day one.
Junior Colton Yates led the Rams effort with a 2-under 68 through the first 18 holes and a 1-under 69 in the second round. That left Yates in a tie for second, two shots behind leader Sunwoo Choi of Air Force who carded a 5-under 135.
Senior Blake Cannon was not too far off the lead either after shooting an even par 70, and a 1-under 69 for a tie for eighth. Sophomore Jake Staiano carded a 4-over 144 effort with freshman A.J. Ott and senior Jimmy Makloski rounding out the top team efforts with a 7-over 147 for Ott and a 13-over 153 for Makloski.
“Today wasn’t exactly what we had in mind but we were able to salvage two nice rounds,” said head coach Christian Newton after the first day, “we are going to need all five guys playing well to have a chance to win the tournament tomorrow.”
And Newton would get his players to respond when CSU teed off first in the final wave on Tuesday and Cannon took control of the course. He shot a 6-under 64 to not only lead the Rams to a team victory, but he also took home first place with a 7-under 203 for the tournament. On a day when it seemed like most people struggled, Cannon pulled through and won by four strokes.
Led by Cannon, the Rams won the team event with a 4-over 844 which was seven strokes better than Nevada who finished in second at an 11-over 851. CSU was the only team to post an under par score for the second day.
Wichita State, Air Force and Sacramento State round out the top five in that order. CSU’s second team finished in 16th at a 53-over 893.
Yates shot a 1-over 71 in the final round to finish 2-under overall and tied for fourth. Staiano and Ott also posted 71’s and finished tied for 17th at a 5-over 215 and tied for 32nd with an 8-over 218, respectively. Makloski put up a 4-over 74 to finish tied for 70th at a 17-over 227.
The difference in the tournament for Cannon was his play on the par 4’s which he led the field in at 3-under for the tournament and was one of three players to be under par for those holes. Cannon was also tied for second on score for par 5’s at 6-under.
Up next for the Rams after winning their third straight Ram Master Invitational title, is the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Rams finished tied for third in this tournament last year, 28 strokes behind the champions, New Mexico. They will look to improve on that mark next Friday, Sept. 23 when the tournament begins.
Collegian sports reporter Austin White can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ajwrules44