CMU's Bingaman begins his final season with lofty goals
Brandon Bingaman has seen his potential.
This spring he hopes to realize it.
The Colorado Mesa University senior begins his final spring season today with big aspirations. So big, it’s a little nerve-racking.
“It’s kind of intimidating because a lot rides on how I play this semester as far as my future goes,” Bingaman said. “I want to finish it on a good note.
“I plan on playing professional golf. Depending on how well I play, I might stay in amateur this summer, or if I get it going this semester, I might declare pro.
“I think (turning pro) became plausible the summer after my junior year (2011), where I started having more success. I started to realize the potential I had and started to play to that potential. I feel like my game has only gotten better the past two years.”
Colorado Mesa will compete against several of the top 20 teams in NCAA Division II in the St. Edward’s University Invitational today and Tuesday at Grey Rock Golf Course in Austin, Texas.
Bingaman, who is the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference preseason player of the year, hopes to qualify for nationals, along with the team, but it won’t be easy.
“Brandon has an opportunity to be an All-American this year,” CMU coach Paul Brown said.
Colorado Mesa will compete in a new super region this season with the schools from Arizona, California, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington, just to name a few.
“The new region will be much tougher and more competitive,” Brown said, adding that most of the teams in the region are playing in the St. Edward’s Invitational.
“I have high expectations for the team,” Brown said. “Our goal is to win the RMAC this spring. We set a team record in the RMAC No. 2 tournament (in the fall). We’re getting there.”
Three of the five Mavericks who played in the 2012 NCAA West Regional team that placed 12th return and Brown is confident the new additions will make the team better.
Sophomores Sean Robbins and Matt Weiss return and are expected to score right behind Bingaman. Junior college transfers Kyle Roll and Kaelen Gunderson are competing with freshmen Chris Aiken (Cortez), Adam Griffith (Westminster) and possibly sophomore Casey Knuepfer (Fruita Monument) for the final two spots.
Roll and Gunderson transferred from Trinidad State Junior College, Brown said.
“Chris Aiken and Adam Griffith have played quite a bit,” Brown said. “Junior college transfers Kyle Roll and Kaelen Gunderson have filled in admirably. I’m searching for our No. 4 through 7 players right now.”
“We’re still building our program, even though we’re getting much more competitive.”
The Mavericks played in the invitation-only GolfWeek Fall Preview tournament last fall and placed 12th.
“We were really kind of disappointed in our play the last four rounds of the (fall) semester,” Bingaman said. “We were in fifth place in the Golf Week tournament. We had a fluke, weird day where nobody played well and dropped a few spots there.”
Bingaman has settled on a more traditional, shorter putter after experimenting with a belly putter a year ago.
Although he hasn’t played outside much this winter, he has spent time on his game with a simulator.