Women falter ahead of championship season, men rebound for CSU golf

Mack Beaulieu

The Colorado State women’s and men’s golf teams have some things to think about after playing over the weekend. The women had their worst finish of the season, at 15th, right before conference championship play this coming weekend while the men finished well to take 8th in a strong field with eight top-40 teams.

The women started off the weekend slow and things only got worse as they dropped a place in every round to finish 15th at the Bryan National CollegiateCSU shot 20-over par in the first round of the tournament to land tied for 13th. Katrina Prendergast led the way in the round with a 3-over 74. The next round was a little better for the Rams, as they only shot 18-over, but the only real bright spot was Ellen Secor recording a 1-under 71. In a strong field, the Rams couldn’t bring it together all at once.

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“We have to get everybody playing the best they can if we’re going to compete in a field like that,” coach Annie Young said.

The next day might have been the most discouraging as the Rams shot a grizzly 28-over par to finish the tournament in 15th place. Secor and Prendergast had solid individual tournaments, finishing tied for 16th and 21st respectively, but the Rams as a whole shot a 66-over 930 for the tournament.

With the Mountain West Tournament coming up this weekend, Young doesn’t necessarily think this will throw the Rams off.

“I think sometimes when you don’t play so well, maybe it wakes you up a little bit,” Young said. “I think they’re going to come out ready to play… The biggest thing is we need to finish the season with three good rounds and see where that ends up. When we do that we usually finish pretty well.”

The men were playing in what was by far their best field of the year, one they’ve been vying to be a part of for a while.

“For us to be invited to that tournament was a really big step for the program,” coach Christian Newton said. “So I was very proud of them, it’s a place where you have to be mentally tough.”

Playing in a score-5 tournament, the six-man Rams played within reach of each other for most of the tournament and improved their team score by six strokes in every round.

The first round was the worst as they struggled on soft greens from rain the night before. They shot 11-over 361 for the round, on an unusual par-70. Max Oelfke led the charge with a round at par, his first of three rounds at or below par. Jake Staiano followed him up with a 1-over for the round.

Many of the tournament’s teams, including CSU, did much better in a second round that was split because of more rain. Aside from A.J Ott, everybody’s score improved or stayed the same, while Staiano’s stellar round of 3-under 67 helped keep him locked in the Rams’ first five when they go back to 4-count tournaments this weekend.

“For us to play well in that format (play six-count five), really speaks even more to how deep this team,” Newton said. “The rest of the year, there’s the traditional play five-count four, so we determined our lineup for ASU and that’s about as far as I’m gonna go. At ASU it’ll be the guys who finished one thru five at the Western.”

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The Rams saved their best for the final round as Ott and Oelfke were below par, with a 4-under 66 and a 2-under 68, respectively. Aside from Staiano, the Rams all had or matched their best days of the tournament. Jack Ainscough posted the same score in all three rounds, but an uptick from the rest of the team helped earn the Rams the third-best team score of the day with a 1-under 349.

They needed all they could get after a shaky first round and got just enough to pull in ahead of Arizona and Pepperdine, who were only separated by two strokes from the Rams. Ultimately, the team posted a 15-over to finish eighth.

“I think we were 15-over through nine holes and that’s about what we finished,” Newton said. “After getting off to such a rough start, for the guys to rebound and play so well those last two and a half rounds speaks real well for them.”

The men will play next in the Arizona State Thunderbird Invitational this weekend, April 14-15. The women will hope to extend their season with their play in the Mountain West Championship from April 17-19.

Mack Beaulieu is a reporter for the Collegian and can be reached online at sports@collegian.com or on twitter @Macknz_james