UCCS sets RMAC record in winning Maverick Invite
Colorado Mines set a team RMAC golf scoring record on Monday. It lasted less than 24 hours, because Tuesday, CU-Colorado Springs went lower.
Four of the five Mountain Lions’ golfers shot below par on the day — the highest score was 1-over-par 71 — to run away with the Maverick Invitational championship at Tiara Rado.
Their round of 269 was one better than the Orediggers put up in the second round to break the conference record, and UCCS won the title by eight strokes over the Orediggers. Colorado Mesa was third, paced by its No. 4 golfer, Brett Krantz, who finished sixth with a third-round 65 for a 208.
The round of the day went to a former CMU golfer, Colin Prater, who transferred to CU-Colorado Springs after a stellar freshman season. Disappointed with his first-round 73, Prater, who shot 67 on Monday afternoon, came back with a sizzling 6-under 64 in the final round to finish third at 204.
“I really struggled (Monday) and I kind of figured things out, I thought about some things (Monday) night and came out today and played better golf,” Prater said. “Today I made one bad swing, I hit the ball in the water on 11. I’ve probably hit it in that water before. It was just a better day today.”
Prater estimated he’d played Tiara Rado “about 50 times” before this week, and the course knowledge came back to him quickly.
“I knew where to hit it, I kind of know the greens, know the breaks,” he said. “It wasn’t like it was foreign in any way. It’s kind of a bummer I didn’t take advantage of that early on, but it’s a great team win.”
His teammate, Tanner Comes, who plays out of the No. 3 position, shot a 68 to finish at 202 and win the title by one stroke over Mines’ Tim Amundson, who shot a 67.
“I knew the guys were playing good and taking care of business,” Comes said. “We just had to go out and play well.
“I putted very well, I didn’t make a lot of mistakes. I kept the ball in play, got the ball on the green and had a lot of two-putts. It was a very un-stressful round.”
It was just that kind of day for the Mountain Lions, who kept the ball in the fairway and rolled in some putts for their record-setting round.
Blake Young shot 1-under 69 and tied for 15th (212), Ji Jang carded a 1-over 71 and finished tied for 18th (214) and Zach Berhost shot a 68 to tie for 23rd at 216.
“It’s gotta give you confidence,” Comes said of taking a title into the Mountain Lions’ final tournament of the fall next week. “It’s a win. You’ve got to build on that. The guys are solid, they don’t make mistakes; they’re very good players.”
The Mavericks, for the third straight round, started a little slow but finished strong, beating Mines by one stroke on the day with a 281.
Krantz carded a pair of birdies on the front nine and three more on the back, and didn’t have a bogey the entire round for his 65.
Kyler Smith, coming off a hip injury, played as an individual and tied for seventh with a third-round 73. Trevor McKune and Grant Olinger tied for 12th at 210, with Olinger shooting a 69 and McKune a 73 in the third round.
“We found a way to dig a hole early in all three rounds, but we were able to climb back,” CMU coach Matt Ward said.
“We didn’t do anything spectacular today but we didn’t lose any ground, either. I’m happy with it. UCCS had a helluva day today.”
Garrett Harrison tied for 26th at 217 and Trey Lambrecht finished 58th with a 236.
The tournament wrapped up the fall season for the Mavericks, who are hoping to add a home tournament this spring the same days as the CMU women’s team has its spring invitational.
Now, the players enter the offseason knowing what they need to do before the busy spring season.
“If we figure out a way to get out of the gate just a little bit better, we’re a tough team to beat,” Ward said. “We need to take a deep breath; we’re just playing golf. We’ve got some young guys who haven’t played a lot of tournament golf so once they figure out it’s just golf, they’ll be fine.
“We closed well both days and as long as we continue to build on that we’ll be great.”