Christian Newton and the CSU golf team are skipping town this weekend and escaping the late-season snowfall in Fort Collins.
Their destination? Tucson, Ariz.
The Rams are headed to the desert to play in the seventh consecutive Mountain West Conference golf championship at the OMNI Tucson National golf course.
“This one is always fun because it’s nice to get away while your friends are all back home bundled up in their jackets,” sophomore Cameron Harrell said. “It’s time to bust out the shorts and t-shirts.”
However CSU is more focused on returning home with an automatic bid to the national tournament than a suntan.
“This one is always kind of the highlight of the year,” Newton said. “The team has had success down there within the last five years and so we’re just looking to go down there and get real competitive and compete for the title.”
The MW Championship works similarly to the basketball tournaments. The winning team will be guaranteed a spot in the national tournament, while the others will await votes from the NCAA based upon their national ranking.
New Mexico is the favorite entering the conference championship, as the Lobos are currently ranked sixth in the country.
“Its been a fun year with these guys and it has reflected in our results and rankings,” New Mexico coach Glen Millican said. “The majority of our lineup has played a lot of golf together over the last several years and have accumulated a lot of experience with one another.”
The invitational kicks off at 8 a.m. Friday and will continue through Sunday.
CSU has sent its five best golfers: Parker Edens, Kirby Pettit, Dominic Kieffer, and Harrell brothers Cameron and Kory to represent the team and school.
Of the five golfers’ each rounds, the four best will be added together to receive a daily score, the team with the lowest score at the end of the three days will receive the MW title.
Pettit and Kory Harrell are the only two seniors of the group, setting up what may be their last tournament at the collegiate level.
“It’s bittersweet,” Pettit said. “We’ve gone done there and won it before and that would be great to do again, I think the accomplishments of the team outweigh the individual ones at this point.”
The Rams are coming off of a disappointing outing at the Cougar Classic in Provo, Utah last weekend, finishing fifth.
In his debut as CSU head golf coach, Newton is looking to turn that around before the season ends.
“The Mountain West Championship is always a big deal,” he said. “We are eager to redeem ourselves since our last outing.”
Club Sports Beat Reporter Quentin Sickafoose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.