CSU men struggle in San Diego while women remain consistent in Hawaii

Mack Beaulieu

The women’s and men’s Colorado State golf teams saw action over spring break with differing results. While the men struggled to regain the top-five form they had in the spring, the women got their third top-five finish after a rough start earlier in the year.

Both teams got big showings from freshmen, but their team results were quite different. Lack of competition play could be part of it for the men as they had only played once so far this spring semester. The women in comparison have already played four times and were consistent throughout their tournament, averaging a 22-over 310 on scores of 308, 310 and 312. 

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Woman swings a driver
Sophomore Ellen Secor takes a swing during the fall season in 2017. (Photo courtesy of CSU Athletics)

The men were playing for the second time this spring in San Diego, California at the Lamkin Grips San Diego Classic from March 12-13. It was a disappointing outing for a team that ranked No. 18 by Golfweek coming into the spring.

“(The two tournaments this spring) have been below average outings for the talent level for this group,” coach Christian Newton said. “I could tell versus some teams that played twice already, we seemed just a little rusty and I think we were just a little off out there.”

CSU played a shaky first round with a 4-over 292 and were in tenth place going into the second, but gained some momentum after a second round finish of 2-under 286 to move into sixth place.

The third round crushed any hope of a top-finish however, with the team shooting a miserable 16-over 304. Junior Jake Staiano led the team score for the Rams, with a final total of four-over 220 putting him in 40th place. The lone bright spot for the Rams came s an individual score, as freshman Jack Ainscough had his best collegiate finish, coming in ninth place.

“When you have to count 78s that’s just not going to get it done on that level of a field,” Newton said. “We just have to play better, this group is capable, they just have to get it done when it matters.”

Ainscough is going to get his first chance to help the team score, as he will join the Rams’ top five when they play next in a dual match against Denver University this Friday.

“Jack will play in the five for the next event,” Newton said. “Anytime you finish ninth in that San Diego field, which is probably going to be as high a ranked field as there is…that certainly gets my attention. Jack has played well enough and earned a spot into the team.”

The women received strong play out of a freshman as well, as Haley Greb led the way for the Rams for the second straight tournament after finishing a career-best 11th in the Rams’ last outing. The short-handed Rams needed the performance in the Hawaii hosted Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational from March 13-14.

“When you have such a small squad and you’re counting four out of five everyday, her stepping up has been a big thing for us,” coach Annie Young said. “We just need to continue to get better, but she’s done a great job as freshman to come in and respond and just keep getting better everyday.”

Conditions were bad and the course difficult as even ranked teams were far over par. Winds were near 30 miles per hour and Texas’ Kaitlyn Papp was the only golfer in the entire field to finish below par.

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Texas was far and away the best team in the field for the tournament, but the Rams could not make any move on the teams that sat between them and first place. They remained in fourth or fifth most of the tournament, showing a high level of consistency.

The Rams were only three strokes behind Houston for third when the last round started on the second day. While the competition got dramatically better or worse on the last day, CSU shot the average of its first two rounds and settled into a fifth-place finish with Greb, junior Ellen Secor and sophomore Katrina Prendergast all shooting within a stroke of each other.

Greb, who kept in line with the older, world-ranked amateurs, Prendergast and Secor should be a major help to the Rams when it comes Mountain West Tournament time. After recently breaking into the world rankings, Greb will only have two more tournaments before postseason golf begins.

“We’d need to win our conference to get into regionals,” Young said. “But we take every tournament at a time, we go into every tournament wanting to win obviously, but we just have to keep getting better and build some confidence leading into that conference championship. You can always build on that and hopefully peak at the right time when it comes to conference.”

The women will play next in the Mountainview Collegiate hosted by the University of Missouri in Tuscon, Arizona from March 23-25.

Collegian reporter Mack Beaulieu can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on twitter @Macknz_James