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Springing Forward

Opportunity awaits as Colorado-based Division I college teams set to tee it up for spring schedule

By Gary Baines – 1/24/2020

The Division I college golf season spans almost nine months, with the holy grail at the end of the journey being the NCAA national championships.

Competing for a national Division I title at the NCAA finals, particularly for a team from Colorado, is heady stuff because of the rarity of the opportunity.

Just how rare is it?

A men’s team from the Centennial State hasn’t qualified for the NCAA DI nationals since 2011, when Colorado State advanced to the finals. And only one Colorado women’s team has made the DI nationals since 2012, that being the University of Colorado in 2018.

The quest to end those droughts and advance to the NCAA finals gears up in the coming weeks for the nine Colorado-based DI golf programs as the three-month midseason break comes to an end and the spring portion of the schedule begins. The first Colorado team to tee it up for real in the “spring” is the University of Denver women, who will face UCLA and Arizona State in a three-way match on Sunday in Gold Canyon, Ariz.

This spring DI college season has the potential to be one of the more interesting in recent years from a Colorado perspective as one local team is ranked in the top 10 nationally (the Colorado State men) and five of the nine in-state Division I programs are ranked among the top third in the country, according to Golfstat.

There’s still plenty of proving to be done, with more regular-season tournaments between now through April, conference championships in mid-spring, NCAA Regional events in May and — if teams make the grade with their regional finishes — NCAA nationals in late May and early June in Scottsdale, Ariz.

After winning the last three tournaments in which they competed as a team in the fall, the CSU men begin the spring schedule ranked No. 5 nationally by Golfstat, and No. 8 by both Golfweek and the Coaches Poll. And suffice it to say that having a Colorado-based team a consensus top-10 squad this far into the season is rare indeed.

Meanwhile, the University of Colorado (85th) and University of Denver (98th) are also in the top 100 out of the 294-school DI men’s ranks.

On the women’s side, in the top 60 out of 263 Division I programs are DU (48th) and CU (54th).

Here are how things shape up going into the spring schedule for the nine Colorado-based DI teams:

SPRING SEASON OPENERS

— DU Women: Jan. 26, Tri Match vs. UCLA and Arizona State, Gold Canyon, Ariz.

— CU Men: Feb. 6-8, Amer Ari Intercollegiate, Waikoloa, Hawaii

— DU Men: Feb. 10-11, Mobile Sports Authority Intercollegiate, Mobile, Ala.

— CU Women: Feb. 10-11, Lambkin Invitational, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

— Air Force Academy Men: Feb. 10-11, Pizza Hut Pat Hicks Invitational, St. George, Utah

— UNC Men: Feb. 10-11, Thunderbird Invitational, St. George, Utah

— UNC Women: Feb. 10-11, Battle at the Rock, Riverside, Calif.

— CSU Women: Feb. 16-18, Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate, New Orleans

— CSU Men: Feb. 21-23, Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate, Palm Desert, Calif.

NATIONAL TEAM RANKINGS
Men
5. Colorado State (Golfstat; 8th Golfweek)
85. Colorado (Golfstat; 87th Golfweek)
98. Denver (Golfstat; 103rd Golfweek)
147. Northern Colorado (Golfweek; 149th Golfstat)
175. Air Force Academy (Golfstat; 191st Golfweek)

Women
48. Denver (Golfweek; 50th Golfstat)
54. Colorado (Golfstat; 55th Golfweek)
115. Colorado State (Golfstat; 119th Golfweek)
180. Northern Colorado (Golfweek; 188th Golfstat)

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE

— CSU Women: Mountain West, April 20-22, Rancho Mirage, Calif.

— UNC Women: Big Sky, April 20-22, Scottsdale, Ariz.

— CU Women: Pac-12, April 24-26, Stanford, Calif.

— DU Women: Summit League, April 26-28, Newton, Kan.

— CU Men: Pac-12, April 27-29, Shoreline, Wash.

— UNC Men: Big Sky, April 27-29, Scottsdale, Ariz.

— CSU Men: Mountain West, May 1-3, Bremerton, Wash.

— Air Force Academy Men: Mountain West, May 1-3, Bremerton, Wash.

— DU Men: Summit League, May 3-5, Newton, Kan.

TEAM VICTORIES IN FALL

— CSU Men (3): Ram Masters Invitational, Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate and Saint Mary’s Invitational.

— CU Men (2): Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational and Mark Simpson Colorado Invitational.

— DU Men (1): Ron Moore Intercollegiate.

INDIVIDUAL VICTORIES IN FALL (INCLUDING TIES FOR FIRST, EVEN IF LOST IN PLAYOFF)

— Jack Castiglia, UNC (2): Ron Moore Intercollegiate and Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational.

— Ericka Danielsson, DU (1): Ron Moore Intercollegiate.

— Connor Jones, DU (1): UNC individual event.

— Cal McCoy, DU (1): Les Fowler Invitational.

— Daniel O’Loughlin, CU (1): Mark Simpson Colorado Invitational.

— Jackson Solem, DU (1): Ron Moore Intercollegiate.

— Parathakorn Suyasri, CSU (1): Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate.

— Coby Welch, UNC (1): Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational.

— Anna Zanusso, DU (1): Golfweek Conference Challenge.

NATIONAL INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS (in top 200)
Men

40. Parathakorn Suyasri, CSU (Golfweek; 85th Golfstat)

43. Davis Bryant, CSU (Golfstat; 53rd Golfweek)

50. AJ Ott, CSU (Golfweek; 139th Golfstat)

122. Coby Welch, UNC (Golfstat)

138. Jack Castiglia, UNC (Golfstat)

147. Daniel O’Loughlin, CU (Golfstat; 173rd Golfweek)

177. Cal McCoy, DU (Golfweek)

Women

107. Kirsty Hodgkins, CU (Golfstat; 110th Golfweek)

119. Anna Zanusso, DU (Golfweek; 132nd Golfstat)

167. Alisha Lau, CU (Golfweek; 186th Golfstat)

191. Mary Weinstein, DU (Golfstat; 195th Golfweek)

TOP INDIVIDUAL FALL STROKE AVERAGE FOR EACH TEAM

UNC Men: (tie) Jack Castiglia and Coby Welch 70.0

CSU Men: Parathakorn Suyasri 70.08

DU Men: Cal McCoy 70.29

CU Men: Daniel O’Loughlin 70.43

DU Women: Anna Zanusso 72.07

Air Force Academy Men: Joseph Crisostomo 72.71

CU Women: Kirsty Hodgkins 73.0

UNC Women: Marisa Hisaki 75.25

CSU Women: Andrea Bergsdottir 75.4

NCAA DIVISION I REGIONAL SCHEDULE

Women: May 11-13, sites TBD (must earn selection).
Men: May 18-20, sites TBD (must earn selection).

NCAA DI CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS SCHEDULE

Women: May 22-27, Scottsdale, Ariz. (must qualify from Regionals).

Men: May 29-June 3, Scottsdale, Ariz. (must qualify from Regionals).

NOTABLE 

Both the CU and CSU men start the spring schedule with new assistant coaches that were among the top local pros and amateurs in Colorado in recent decades. Two-time Colorado Open champion Derek Tolan will be an interim assistant for his alma mater (CU), while two-time CGA Match Play runner-up Parker Edens will be a full-time assistant for his (CSU). … Both the DU men and women go into the spring picked as favorites to win Summit League titles by the league’s coaches. … Both the CGA men’s and women’s 2019 Players of the Year — CSU sophomore Davis Bryant and DU senior Mary Weinstein, respectively — will be key players for their teams in the final half of the season. … CU senior Kirsty Hodgkins, the low amateur at the 2019 CoBank Colorado Women’s Open, finished seventh earlier this month in the Australian Master of the Amateurs Championship. The Australian posted two runner-up individual finishes during the fall portion of the college schedule.