Colorado-based college golf teams left wondering ‘what if?’ after premature end to season; postseason would have begun this week
By Gary Baines – 4/20/2020
The postseason was supposed to begin this week for many of Colorado’s 24 NCAA Division I and II college golf teams.
And over the next two-plus weeks, conference tournaments were planned for all of the nine Division I and 15 Division II programs based in the state. Then, for the teams that were selected or qualify, there was to be NCAA Regionals and National Championships.
The NCAA announced on March 12 that due to the effects of the novel coronavirus, it was canceling all its remaining winter and spring championships. Effectively, that ended the season for men’s and women’s golf teams, which normally compete into late April at least and possibly to the end of May and early June.
For the men’s NCAA Division I Golf Championship, it marks the first time since 1918 that it won’t be held.
But before we close the book on the 2019-20 college season, it’s worth considering what might have been, and looking at what was accomplished. After all, in several respects, it was one of more memorable seasons in recent years, locally-speaking.
As Colorado State’s Davis Bryant, the 2019 CGA Les Fowler Player of the Year and the top-ranked NCAA Division I player this season from a Colorado school, said in a recent first-person story he wrote for CSURams.com: “We had our eyes on the national championship since the start, and for that to be cut short is extremely devastating.”
Indeed, considering the CSU men have never finished better than 24th place in the NCAA national championships, this very well could have been the Rams’ best showing ever. After all, depending on the poll, CSU was ranked anywhere from 16th to 19th in the nation when the season ended prematurely after being as high as fifth at the midseason break.
The Rams won three of the six tournaments in which they competed as a team. And for the first time in 12 years, they put three players on a Ping All-Region team in the same season. Bryant, fellow Coloradan AJ Ott and Parathakorn Suyasri made the grade this season.
In fact, those three CSU players all finished the season ranked in the nation’s top 60 in Division I, according to Golfweek, with Bryant 53rd, Suyasri 55th and Ott 60th. For the record, Bryant is ranked 39th in the country by Golfstat.
Other ways this season stood out for Colorado-based teams:
— To say that Italian Anna Zanusso made a splash as a University of Denver freshman would be a considerable understatement. She won two individual titles in nine tournaments, and both victories came against fields of 90 or more.
Zanusso was selected to compete in the second Augusta National Women’s Amateur, though she’ll have to wait until next year to do it after the 2020 event was canceled.
But Zanusso gained the most headlines two months ago when she matched the NCAA women’s single-round record by firing an 11-under-par 61 en route to winning the Westbrook Invitational in Arizona. Zanusso became the fifth woman to shoot that score, with one of her predecessors being Esther Lee at the University of Colorado.
— All told, three Colorado-based men’s teams finished the season in the top 25 in the nation in their respective national polls. Besides CSU (16th to 19th depending on the rankings), Colorado School of Mines was 16th in NCAA Division II and Colorado State-Pueblo was 21st in DII.
— For the 2019-20 season, Colorado Division I teams produced six team and 11 individual victories.
Team-wise, the CSU men posted three wins, the University of Colorado men two and the DU men one.
As for individuals, recording victories (including ties for wins) were Zanusso (2), Northern Colorado’s Jack Castiglia (2), UNC’s Coby Welch (1), DU’s Cal McCoy (1), DU’s Jackson Solem (1), DU’s Connor Jones (1), CU’s Daniel O’Loughlin (1), Suyasri (1) and DU’s Erika Danielsson (1).
— On the Division II level, two players from Colorado-based teams were ranked in the individual top 25 nationally at season’s end, according to Golfstat. CSU-Pueblo’s Andrew Ni of Scotland, in his first season after transferring in, was 17th nationally after posting top-five finishes in four of his five tournaments, including one victory. And Preston Smith of Colorado School of Mines was ranked 25th after four top-7 showings, including one win.
— Another thing that made this season stand out — not just locally but nationwide — is that following the lack of NCAA championships for spring sports, athletes in those sports (including golf) were granted the option of having another season of eligibility. That includes players who were seniors in 2019-20.
That will make for a unique 2020-21 season as five classes of players could be on the same roster, including two years of seniors.
Here are some rankings and honors for Colorado-based college golf teams for the 2019-20 season:
NCAA DIVISION I TEAM RANKINGS
Colorado State (16 Golfweek; 19 Golfstat; 19 Coaches)
Colorado (77 Golfstat; 79 Golfweek)
Denver (98 Golfstat; 100 Golfweek)
Northern Colorado (151 Golfweek; 162 Golfstat)
Air Force Academy (180 Golfstat; 192 Golfweek)
Denver (42 Golfweek; 44 Golfstat)
Colorado (58 Golfstat and Golfweek)
Colorado State (119 Golfstat; 123 Golfweek)
Northern Colorado (179 Golfweek; 183 Golfstat)
NCAA DIVISION II TEAM RANKINGS
Colorado Mines (16 Golfstat)
Colorado State-Pueblo (21 Golfstat)
Regis (68 Golfstat)
Colorado-Colorado Springs (70 Golfstat)
Colorado Mesa (82 Golfstat)
Colorado Christian (93 Golfstat)
Fort Lewis (147 Golfstat)
Colorado Mesa (52 Golfstat)
Colorado Christian (71 Golfstat)
MSU Denver (98 Golfstat)
Colorado-Colorado Springs (100 Golfstat)
Regis (101 Golfstat)
Colorado State-Pueblo (110 Golfstat)
Fort Lewis (144 Golfstat)
Adams State (170 Golfstat)
NCAA DIVISION I INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS (Top 200)
Davis Bryant, CSU (39 Golfstat; 53 Golfweek)
Parathakorn Suyasri, CSU (55 Golfweek; 80 Golfstat)
AJ Ott, CSU (60 Golfweek; 124 Golfstat)
Dan Erickson of Loveland, Texas A&M 86 (Golfweek)
Anna Zanusso, Denver (79 Golfweek; 94 Golfstat)
Kirsty Hodgkins, Colorado (127 Golfweek; 137 Golfstat)
Mary Weinstein, Denver (155 Golfstat; 158 Golfweek)
Alish Lau, Colorado (188 Golfstat; 196 Golfweek)
NCAA DIVISION II INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS (Top 150)
Andrew Ni, CSU-Pueblo (17 Golfstat)
Preston Smith, Colorado School of Mines (25 Golfstat)
Tim Amundson, Colorado School of Mines (63 Golfstat)
Collin Bordeaux, Regis (76 Golfstat)
Nic Beno, Colorado School of Mines (105 Golfstat)
Nathan McCann, CSU-Pueblo (132 Golfstat)
Hannah More, Colorado Mesa (75 Golfstat)
PING ALL-REGION MEN’S TEAMS
Davis Bryant, Colorado State (West)
AJ Ott, Colorado State (West)
Parathakorn Suyasri, Colorado State (West)
Dan Erickson of Loveland, Texas A&M (Central)
Tim Admundson, Colorado School of Mines (South Central)
Nic Beno, Colorado School of Mines (South Central)
Andrew Ni, CSU-Pueblo (South Central
Preston Smith, Colorado School of Mines (South Central)