Reaching the Summit

DU women, Colorado Christian men and CSU-Pueblo women claim conference team titles; Pioneers keep rolling in league tourneys as Clara Gestsdottir posts first college win and Coloradan Emma Bryant places a college-career-best 2nd

By Gary Baines – 4/23/2024

Three Colorado-based college golf programs won conference team titles on Tuesday — and three players from local teams claimed individual championships.

Earning team victories were the University of Denver women (Summit League), the Colorado Christian University men (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) and the Colorado State-Pueblo women (RMAC).

For the DU women, it continued their remarkable run as they earned their 19th league title in the last 20 times the tournaments have been contested. 

It was the first team victory of the season for the Pioneers, who are ranked No. 43 in the nation in NCAA Div. I by Scoreboard Powered by clippd, and it gives them an automatic berth into the NCAA regionals, set for May 6-8. The site for DU’s regional will be announced on Wednesday’s selection show, which airs on Golf Channel beginning at noon (MT). 

DU now has captured five consecutive Summit League titles and nine overall to go along with one WAC and nine Sunbelt championships.

This time, the Pioneers came out on top by 42 strokes at the Summit meet in Mayetta, Kan., finishing at 14 under par for three rounds.

DU, coached by Martha Richards, placed all five of its golfers in the top seven in the 40-player event. Junior Clara Gestsdottir of Iceland closed with a 6-under-par 66 to claim her first individual college title. She won by one over junior teammate Emma Bryant, a former 5A Colorado girls state high school champion who finished a college-career-best second on Tuesday. Bryant’s previous top individual college showing was ninth place. 

Anna Zanusso, the 2022 Summit League champion who’s wrapping up her college career this spring, tied for third for DU, while defending Summit champ Anna Krekling was sixth and Katarina Drocarova was seventh.

Gestsdottir ended up at 6 under par, Bryant at 5 under and Zanusso at 3 under. Bryant posted a 68 on Tuesday that featured eight birdies. From hole 8 through 16, she didn’t make a par, carding seven birdies and two bogeys.

For the scores from the Summit League tournament, CLICK HERE.

— In the RMAC Men’s Tournament in Boulder City Nev.,Colorado Christian claimed its first RMAC championship in men’s golf a year after finishing second in a playoff at the event. 

CCU, ranked sixth in the nation among Division II men, prevailed by nine strokes over Colorado Mesa and by 16 over defending team champ CSU-Pueblo, which had won the previous three RMAC men’s championships. For three days, Colorado Christian posted a 30-under-par total.

With that, CCU earns an automatic berth into an NCAA DII regional tournament, set for May 9-11 in Las Cruces, N.M. The full field for that event will be announced on Friday.

Adam Duncan, a CCU junior from Bakersfield, Calif., won the RMAC individual title by two over Jeff Nelson of CSU-Pueblo and Commerce City. Duncan ended up at 13 under par, matching Nelson’s final-round 68. 

Other members of CCU’s championship-winning team were Xavier Bighaus (fifth place individually), Dylan Arthur and Bradley Mulder (eighth), and Peyton Jones (15th).

For scores from the men’s RMAC tournament, CLICK HERE.

— In the RMAC Women’s Tournament, also in Boulder City, CSU-Pueblo won its second consecutive RMAC women’s title and fifth since 2012. The ThunderWolves previously prevailed in 2012, ’14, ’19 and ’23.

The RMAC team title gives CSU-Pueblo a spot in the NCAA Division II regionals May 6-8 in Stockton, Calif. The full field for that tournament will be revealed on Monday.

CSU-Pueblo finished with a 54-hole total of 25 over par, 22 strokes better than runner-up Colorado Mesa and 23 ahead of third-place Regis. The champions from CSU-Pueblo include Freya Constable (second place), Kylie Severin and Lisa Ekberg (third), Zoey Rodriguez (seventh) and Anju Ogi (19th).

Meredith Boos of Regis and Missoula, Mont., earned the individual title on Tuesday after posting a 1-over total for three rounds (74-73-70).

For scores from the women’s RMAC tournament, CLICK HERE.

— At the Pac-12 Women’s Tournament, also concluding playon Tuesday was the University of Colorado, who placed 11th in the 11-team field as the Buffs were without 2023 CGA Women’s Player of the Year — and this season’s stroke-average leader — Morgan Miller due to injury. 

CU is unlikely to receive an at-large team invitation to NCAA regionals, and if the Buffs’ season is, in fact, completed, the Pac-12 tournament would be the career finale for CU head coach for Anne Kelly, who announced in the fall that she would be retiring at season’s end. The Aspen native, who’s been at the CU helm since 1997, will be succeeded as head coach by Madeleine Sheils, currently the associate head coach of the women’s team. However, it’s also possible that a CU golfer or two could earn an individual berth into the NCAA regionals, which would extend Kelly’s run.

Sabrina Iqbal, who’s wrapping up her one and only season for CU, placed 37th individually on Tuesday, a week after qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open. Lauren Gooding led the Buffs with a 35th-place showing.

For scores from the women’s Pac-12 tournament, 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. The University of Colorado Evans Scholar alum was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates