Long Droughts End

Buffs 23rd, Rams 28th after opening round of long-awaited men’s NCAA nationals

By Gary Baines – 5/26/2023

It’s been 24 years since the last time the University of Colorado and Colorado State both qualified full teams for the same men’s NCAA national golf championship, but 2023 started out very similar to how 1999 ended for the two teams from the Centennial State.

In ’99, the Buffs finished 23rd and the Rams 24th at nationals at Hazeltine in Chaska, Minn. 

On Friday at the 2023 tournament at Grayhawk in Scottsdale, Ariz., CU ended the opening round in 23rd place, while CSU was 28th.

With Georgia Tech leading the way in the 30-team field with an even-par total, the Buffs checked in at 12 over par and the Rams at 16 over.

A team berth at nationals has been a long time coming for both CU (2002 was the last time) and CSU (2011). 

On Friday, CSU’s Connor Jones of Westminster and CU’s Dylan McDermott of Granite Bay, Calif., led the way for their teams, posting 1-over-par 71s, which leaves them tied for 31st place individually. Jones made four birdies but also had two double bogeys and a bogey. McDermott carded two birdies and three bogeys.

Coloradan Hunter Swanson, a quarterfinalist earlier this week (with Max Lange) at the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, recorded a 72 and CU teammate Justin Biwer a 73. CSU’s Davis Bryant, the 2019 CGA Player of the Year, shot a 74 to open the final college tournament of his career.

Overall, Ross Steelman of Georgia Tech set the standard in round 1 with a bogey-free 6-under-par 64.

The local teams will have at least two more rounds of stroke play to improve their positions. After Sunday, the top 15 teams and top nine individuals not on those teams make the 54-hole cut. Then just the top eight teams after Monday’s final round of stroke play advance to the match-play portion of the event.

For all the results from the men’s NCAA Division I nationals, CLICK HERE.

About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for since 2009. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates