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College Golf Season Gears Up

Gene Miranda Falcon Invite the first of 9 NCAA Division I golf tourneys scheduled in Colorado during fall season

By Gary Baines – 09/05/2019

The first 2019-20 college golf tournaments featuring Colorado-based NCAA Division I teams will start on Friday. 

Most notably, on tap is the 51st Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational at Eisenhower Golf Club’s Blue Course at the Air Force Academy, which will feature three local men’s teams — host Air Force, the defending champion University of Colorado and the University of Northern Colorado.

That opens the floodgates for a very busy fall season regarding Division I tournaments that will be held in Colorado. Specifically, nine are on top in the Centennial State over the course of the next seven weeks. And that’s despite one event — the University of Denver’s Paintbrush Invitational — taking a hiatus this fall because the venue at Colorado Golf Club in Parker is hosting the U.S. Mid-Amateur Sept. 14-19.

Most of the nine scheduled tournaments in 2019 are multi-round events, though some are smaller scale, including the inaugural Les Fowler Invitational, a one-day, 36-hole individual tournament at Boulder Country Club on Oct. 21 that will feature players from CU, DU, Air Force, Colorado State, UNC and Wyoming.

Of the bigger tournaments, the most notable changes for this year — aside from no Paintbrush Invitational — involve the Ron Moore Intercollegiate at the University of Denver Golf Club at Highlands Ranch.

Traditionally, that DU-hosted event has been a women’s tournament. But this year, the DU men will join in the fun with a 54-hole event Oct. 5-6. And this season, the women’s Ron Moore Intercollegiate will be a 36-hole individual affair on Oct. 6.

Here’s the overall rundown of the Colorado-based NCAA Division I tournaments scheduled for this season:

— Sept. 6-8: Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational at Eisenhower Golf Club’s Blue Course at Air Force Academy north of Colorado Springs (participating local teams: AFA men-host, CU, UNC)

— Sept. 16-17: Ram Masters Invitational at Fort Collins Country Club. (participating local teams: CSU men-host, DU, UNC, AFA)

— Sept. 22-23: Colonel Wollenberg Ptarmigan Ram Classic at Ptarmigan Country Club in Fort Collins. (participating local teams: CSU women-host, UNC)

— Sept. 23-25: Golfweek Conference Challenge at Red Sky Golf Club in Wolcott. (participating local team: DU women)

— Sept. 30: UNC individual tournament at Highland Hills Golf Course in Greeley (participating local teams: UNC men-host, among others)

— Oct. 5-6: Men’s Ron Moore Intercollegiate at University of Denver Golf Club at Highlands Ranch (participating local teams: DU men-host, UNC)

— Oct. 6: Women’s Ron Moore Intercollegiate at University of Denver Golf Club at Highlands Ranch (participating local teams: DU women-host, CSU and UNC individuals)

— Oct. 7-8: Mark Simpson Colorado Invitational at Colorado National Golf Club in Erie (participating local teams: CU men-host, UNC, CSU-individuals only)

— Oct. 21: Les Fowler Invitational at Boulder Country Club (CU men-host, individuals from DU, CSU, Air Force, UNC)

Here’s a brief preseason outlook for the nine Division I teams based in Colorado:


AIR FORCE MEN

Season Opener — Sept. 6-8 at Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational at Eisenhower Golf Club at Air Force Academy north of Colorado Springs.

Tournaments in Colorado

— Sept. 6-8 at Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational at Eisenhower Golf Club at Air Force Academy north of Colorado Springs.

— Sept. 16-17 at Ram Masters Invitational at Fort Collins Country Club.

Coloradan on Roster

Luke Trujillo, sophomore from Colorado Springs

Notable — Senior Josh Wu led the team in scoring average last season at 74.37, followed by Trujillo at 74.63. … Air Force finished a season-best fourth at its own Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational in 2018.


CSU MEN

Season Opener — Sept. 6-8 at Carpet Capital Collegiate in Rocky Face, Ga.

Tournament in Colorado

— Sept. 16-17 at Ram Masters Invitational at Fort Collins Country Club.

Coloradans on Roster

Davis Bryant, sophomore from Aurora

AJ Ott, senior from Fort Collins

Notable — In the spring, CSU came ever so close to qualifying a team for the NCAA national championships for the first time since 2011, falling in a playoff to South Carolina for the right to be the final squad to advance from the NCAA Regional in Pullman, Wash. … The Rams won two team titles in multi-round tournaments last season, including their own Ram Masters Invitational. … Half of CSU’s roster hails from overseas, with junior Jack Ainscough from England, junior Parathakorn Suyasri and Akedanai Ponghathaikul from Thailand, and sophomore Oscar Teiffel from Sweden. … CSU has four returning players who owned a season stroke average under 72.5 last season — Teiffel (71.71), Suyasri (71.97), Bryant (72.19) and Ott (72.35). … Ott had an outstanding summer, winning the Southern Amateur, taking low-amateur honors at the CoBank Colorado Open, placing second in the Southwestern Amateur and qualifying for his third consecutive U.S. Amateur, where he just missed making match play. … Davis captured the title in the CGA Amateur last month. … Joining Ott in qualifying for the U.S. Amateur was teammate Cullen Plousha.


CSU WOMEN

Season Opener — Sept. 9-10 at Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M.

Tournament in Colorado

— Sept. 22-23 at Colonel Wollenberg Ptarmigan Ram Classic at Ptarmigan Country Club in Fort Collins. 

Coloradans on Roster

None

Notable — In the offseason, Ellen Secor transferred from CSU to Oklahoma to play her senior season. Last season, Secor won the individual title at the Ron Moore Intercollegiate in Highlands Ranch. In 2018, Secor and then-CSU teammate Katrina Prendergast won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball title. That means the Rams lost the players with the top two scoring averages from the last season. Prendergast graduated and is now a pro. … CSU won one team title last season — at the Ron Moore Intercollegiate. … Of the seven players on the CSU roster, five are from Europe — freshmen Thea and Tomine Bjerkelo of Norway, freshman Andrea Bergsdottir of Sweden, senior Fiona Hebbel of Germany and sophomore Saga Traustadottir of Iceland. Traustadottir owned the best 2018-19 scoring average of the CSU returnees last season, with a 76.15 norm. 


CU MEN

Season Opener — Sept. 6-8 at Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational at Eisenhower Golf Club at Air Force Academy north of Colorado Springs

Tournaments in Colorado

— Sept. 6-8 at Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational at Eisenhower Golf Club’s Blue Course at Air Force Academy north of Colorado Springs

— Oct. 7-8 at Mark Simpson Colorado Invitational at Colorado National Golf Club in Erie

— Oct. 21 at Les Fowler Invitational at Boulder Country Club

Coloradans on Roster

— Jack Hughes, freshman from Snowmass Village

— Cole Krantz, junior from Windsor

— Ross Macdonald, senior from Castle Rock

— Canon Olkowski, freshman who grew up in Grand Junction

— Trevor Olkowski, junior who grew up in Grand Junction

Notable — CU, which is beginning its 100th season of intercollegiate action, won two team titles last season — both coming in the fall — but failed to advance as a team to the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2012. However, Daniel O’Loughlin went to regionals as an individual. … Four Europeans are included on the Buffs’ roster — senior Victor Bjorlow of Spain, sophomore Kristoffer Max of Denmark, senior O’Loughlin of England and sophomore John Paterson of Scotland. … O’Loughlin, winner of the individual title at the 2018 Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational, had by far the best scoring average last season for the returning Buffs (71.9). Over the summer, he won the title in the prestigious Walton Heath Trophy in England.


CU WOMEN

Season Opener — Sept. 9-10 at Trinity Forest Invitational in Dallas

Tournaments in Colorado

None

Coloradans on Roster

— Jaclyn Murray, sophomore from Aurora

— Kelsey Webster, sophomore from Boulder

Notable — CU was picked tied for 31st in the NCAA Division I preseason coaches poll. … The CU roster features four foreign-born players — senior Kirsty Hodgkins from Australia, freshmen Sophie Johnson and Issy Simpson from England, and sophomore Alisha Lau from Canada. … Of the players who return for CU, the only one with a 2018-19 scoring average under 76 was Hodgkins (73.97). She finished seventh and was low amateur at the CoBank Colorado Women’s Open in the spring.


DU MEN

Season Opener — Sept. 16-17 at Ram Masters Invitational at Fort Collins Country Club.

Tournaments in Colorado 

— Sept. 16-17 at Ram Masters Invitational at Fort Collins Country Club.

— Oct. 5-6 at Ron Moore Intercollegiate at University of Denver Golf Club at Highlands Ranch

Coloradans on Roster

Connor Jones, freshman from Westminster

Cal McCoy, sophomore from Highlands Ranch

Jackson Solem, junior from Longmont

Notable — DU won the Summit League title in the spring and earned a berth in the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2014. … McCoy had a very strong spring and summer, winning the individual Summit League title, finishing second at the Canadian Men’s Amateur and the CGA Match Play and qualifying for the U.S. Amateur. … Freshmen were 1-2 in stroke average for DU last season, with McCoy leading the way at 73.05 and redshirt frosh Esteban Missura of Ecuador second at 73.57. 


DU WOMEN

Season Opener — Sept. 16-17 at Washington State Cougar Cup in Pullman, Wash.

Tournaments in Colorado

— Sept. 23-25 at Golfweek Conference Challenge at Red Sky Golf Club in Wolcott 

— Oct. 6 — Ron Moore Intercollegiate, University of Denver Golf Club at Highlands Ranch

Coloradans on Roster

Caroline Jordaan, freshman from Lakewood

Mary Weinstein, senior from Highlands Ranch

Notable — DU won the women’s Summit League team title and qualified for NCAA Regionals in the spring. … The Pioneers were picked 42nd in the NCAA Division I preseason coaches poll. … Weinstein had an impressive spring and summer, winning the Summit League individual title, sweeping the CGA Women’s Stroke Play and Women’s Match Play, and adding the Denver Women’s City Amateur Championship. … Last season, Weinstein owned the top DU women’s stroke average (72.8) by an amazing 2.5 shots over the next player on the list. Weinstein posted four top-10 individual finishes in 54-hole tournaments. … Three freshmen on DU’s roster come from Europe — Erika Danielsson from Finland, Anna Krekling from Norway and Anna Zanusso from Italy. … Jordaan won the 3A state high school individual title and the Colorado Junior Match Play in 2019.


UNC MEN

Season Opener — Sept. 6-8 at Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational at Eisenhower Golf Club at Air Force Academy north of Colorado Springs

Tournaments in Colorado

— Sept. 6-8 at Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational at Eisenhower Golf Club at Air Force Academy north of Colorado Springs

— Sept. 16-17 at Ram Masters Invitational at Fort Collins Country Club

— Sept. 30 at UNC individual tournament at Highland Hills Golf Course in Greeley

— Oct. 5-6 at Ron Moore Intercollegiate at University of Denver Golf Club at Highlands Ranch

— Oct. 7-8 at Mark Simpson Colorado Invitational at Colorado National Golf Club in Erie

Coloradans on Roster

Jack Castiglia, sophomore from Lakewood

Owen Pasvogel, junior from Colorado Springs

TJ Shehee, freshman from Mead

Marcus Tait, junior from Littleton

Coby Welch, senior from Highlands Ranch

Notable — The Bears won two team title last season — at the Pat Hicks Thunderbird Invitational and the Big Sky Championship, with the latter earning them a berth in the NCAA Regionals. In fact, UNC has won the Big Sky title the last two years. … Seven of UNC’s nine players hail from either Colorado or Wyoming. … Castiglia was the runner-up to CSU’s Davis Bryant in the CGA Amateur last month. … Though UNC lost its leader in stroke average last season (Joshua Matz) to graduation, Welch is back after posting a norm of 70.94 in 2018-19. Welch recorded five top-seven individual finishes last season.


UNC WOMEN

Season Opener — Sept. 9-10 at Hobble Creek Invitational in Orem, Utah.

Tournaments in Colorado

— Sept. 22-23 at Colonel Wollenberg Ptarmigan Ram Classic at Ptarmigan Country Club in Fort Collins. 

Coloradans on Roster

Aili Bundy, junior from Fort Collins

Amy Chitkoksoong, freshman from Aurora

Jenna Chun, sophomore from Highlands Ranch

Morgan Sahm, senior from Centennial

Notable — Beah Cruz, a junior from Vacaville, Calif., led UNC in stroke average last season with a 74.78 norm. Cruz won the Big Sky Conference individual title and placed second in her previous tournament, at the Wyoming Cowgirl Classic. In all, she posted four top-10 finishes for the season.