Mesa golfers ready for regionals
Brandon Bingaman has established himself as Colorado Mesa University’s top men’s golfer.
The Fruita Monument High School graduate has several school records, but the junior has some competition this year.
Freshman Sean Robbins has challenged Bingaman for Mesa’s low score from the start.
In Robbins’ first college tournament, he tied with Bingaman for first place. Bingaman beat Robbins in a playoff for his first win.
For the first time in the three-year history of the men’s program, the Mavericks shot even par this season in the CSU-Pueblo Invitational four weeks ago at Walking Stick Golf Course in Pueblo.
Bingaman and Robbins lead the Mavericks into the NCAA West/Central Super Regional from Monday through Wednesday at Wigwam Golf Course in Phoenix.
“I think we have started a great foundation,” CMU men’s coach Paul Brown said. “Brandon came a tremendously long way in improving his game. These are really the two building blocks of the program.
“It would be my hope these two young men can qualify for nationals. There’s no reason they shouldn’t.”
Bingaman, the RMAC Academic Player of the Year, led the Mavericks to a second-place finish in the RMAC tournament three weeks ago at the Wigwam Resort near Phoenix. Bingaman tied for seventh, but was not pleased with the results.
“It’s a tough course,” Bingaman said. “I couldn’t put the ball in the hole. I was striking the ball really well, I just wasn’t making putts.”
Bingaman has changed his putter since then.
“I started using a belly putter recently, about a week ago,” he said. “I’ve been putting pretty good with it. We’ll see if it works out. I wasn’t making anything, so I thought, ‘why not?’ “
The top five teams and two individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the NCAA championships May 15-19 in Louisville, Ky.
Colorado Mesa seniors Jessica Berve, Afton Balling and Jennifer Hilts have led the Mavericks to four consecutive NCAA regional appearances.
The Mavericks play in the NCAA Central Regional from Sunday through Tuesday at Sierra Del Rio Golf Course in Elephant Butte, N.M.
The top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the NCAA championships May 16-19 in Louisville, Ky.
“I think they’re all rounding into form,” CMU coach Scott Hansen said. “Everyone is playing better. We got off to a slow start.
“Hopefully we peak at the end of the season.”
Berve and Hilts are shooting an average score of 80. Berve placed third in the RMAC tournament three weeks ago and is the RMAC Academic Golf of the Year for the second consecutive year.
“Jennifer Hilts is playing good,” Hansen said. “She’s probably our slowest starter.
“She’s playing her way into form. She does it through playing.”
“Jess likes to practice more. She’s played solid through the spring. Afton is playing better recently.”