The Colorado State men’s golf team successfully defended the Fort by taking home first place at the third annual Ram Masters Invitational at the Fort Collins Country Club.
The win marks the first for the Rams in the tournament hosted in their own backyard. CSU finished second the past two years, coming up one stroke behind Wichita State in 2012 and again losing by a one-stroke margin to Denver in 2013.
“I’m so proud of my guys and how they responded to the challenge today,” head coach Christian Newton said.
After two rounds of play on the par-70 course, CSU entered the final round on Tuesday with a five-stroke lead. Kansas, led by former CSU coach Jamie Bermel, made a strong push but the Rams carded a 285 to finish 13-over par and hold off the Jayhawks by four strokes.
“Today was awesome,” senior Cameron Harrell said of Tuesday’s final round. “We hung in there all day and got the job done.”
CSU was led by Harrell, whose 212-stroke three-round total (+2) earned him a fourth-place finish individually.
“Cam (Harrell) was our rock again and we leaned on him hard,” Newton said.
Junior Dominic Kieffer helped the Rams avoid falling behind early. He was the only Ram to card a score below par (-2) in the first round of play Monday. That score would hold as the lowest shot by a Ram in any round.
“It feels great to finally get a team win and hopefully there’s more to come the rest of the season,” Harrell said.
Every golfer who represented CSU in the team standings also finished top-25 individually out of the 84-player field. Kieffer and senior Patrick Winther both tallied 217-stroke totals (+7) to put them in a tie for 13th individually.
Sophomore Alec Bone shot below par in the second round en route to a 218 (+8) which put him in a tie for 17th place. Fellow sophomore Jimmy Makloski shot a 219 over three rounds to tie for 24th-place finish.
“KU and DU are good; we had tall order to hold them off,” Newton said. “Jimmy (Makloski) and Pat (Winther) were huge for us today. They started us off and were steady most of the day.”
Max Oelfke also turned in an impressive performance finishing tied for ninth overall as an individual competitor although his score did not count toward CSU in the team standings. The freshman shot 5-above par, better than every Ram aside from Harrell.
Kansas took second place with a final score of 19-above par while last year’s winner Denver placed third at 22-above par. Rounding out the top-five team-standings were Nevada (27-above par) and McNeese State (30-above par).
Utah Valley finished sixth (36-above par) followed by seventh-place Rice (38-above par), eighth-place Wichita State (39-above par), and ninth-place Wyoming (43-above par). Sacramento State (44-above par) filled out the top-ten, and Northern Colorado and Air Force both finished 60-above par in a tie for 11th.
Collegian Sports Reporter Emmett McCarthy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @EmmettCollegian.