CSU men's golf wins Rams Masters with record performance

Release courtesy of Colorado State Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Colorado State men’s golf posted a record-breaking team score to run away with their second-consecutive title at the Ram Masters Invitational championship - defending the squad’s title from the 2014 event, and winning their second tournament in as many weeks to open the 2015-16 season – at Fort Collins Country Club. 

CSU entered Tuesday’s final round with a one stroke advantage in what turned out to be a two-team race between the host Rams and former head coach Jamie Bermel’s Kansas squad. After opening with rounds of 277 and 283 on Monday, the Rams held a one stroke lead over KU heading into Tuesday’s finale. CSU outshot the Jayhawks by nine strokes on the day, closing with a 279 to finish 1-under as a team with a tournament-record score of 839. The Rams’ team total eclipsed the old mark of 847, set by Denver at the 2013 Ram Masters. Kansas finished second, 10 strokes off the Rams’ pace, with a three-round team total of 849.

“I couldn’t be more happy with how the team competed this week,” said Rams’ head coach Christian Newton, who has now guided CSU to four tournament victories in the past 12 tournaments. “We battled with a very good KU team all three rounds and came out on top. The experience will serve us well.”

Four Rams posted top-five individual finishes, led by senior Dominic Kieffer and sophomore Max Oelfke who tied for second with a three-round total of 208 (-2), two strokes off the pace of eventual medalist Ben Welle (206) of Kansas. Kieffer carded rounds of 68 and 72 on Monday, and fired a 68 on Tuesday to climb three spots up the individual leader board in the final round of action. 

“It's been another extremely solid tournament for everyone on the team,” said Kieffer. “I had a few bombs drop which kept my round rolling. Today was a battle of who could make the least amount of mistakes and our guys came through. It is a great start to the season.” 

Oelfke, who opened with a 73 on Monday morning, carded back-to-back rounds under par on Monday afternoon (4-under 66) and Tuesday (1-under 69) to match Kieffer’s tally. 

Redshirt freshman Kyler Dunkle, playing in just his second-career collegiate tournament, rounded out the group of top-five finishers for the Rams. Vaulted by his round of 7-under 63 on Monday morning, which tied the program record and establishing new marks for the Ram Masters Tournament at Fort Collins Country Club (black tees), Dunkle shot a 74 in Round 2 and closed with a 73 on Tuesday to tie KU’s Connor Peck and South Dakota State’s Grant Smith, for fourth place with an even-par 210.

“Max played his best golf yet as a Ram,” added Newton. “Look for great things out of him this year. Dom was a rock again for us today; at the time of his 60-foot birdie putt we were only up three strokes on KU. His finish was huge. And Kyler finished off a great tourney with his first top 5 finish.”

Junior Jimmy Makloski continued to improve round over round during the tournament, climbing into a tie with teammate Colton Yates to give all five players in the Rams’ lineup top-20 individual finishes. Makloski opened with a 76 on Monday morning, and shaved four strokes off during Round 2 before closing with an even-par 70 to finish at 218 (+8). Yates, playing in his first tournament in the Rams’ lineup, jumped three spots into a tie for 19th with a 72 in Round 3.

Several Rams also had great success as individual competitors this week. Freshman Jake Staiano finished tied for eighth in the 88-player field, posting impressive rounds of 68 and 69 in Rounds 2 and 3, respectively, to finish with a 2-over 212. Junior Blake Cannon also posted a top-20 finish as an individual, carding rounds of 71, 71 and 75 to tie for 14th at 7-over par. 

Juniors Alec Bone (223) and Logan Iverson (227) finished tied for 38th and 58th. Bone carded the lone ace of the tournament, holing the 250-yard par-3 17th hole during Tuesday’s final round. 

Fresno State (862) finished 23 strokes behind CSU and 13 strokes off KU’s pace in third place, followed by Wichita State (873) and Wyoming (876) to round out the top-five in the team standings. South Dakota State (878) finished sixth, followed by Weber State (879), Denver (890), Valparaiso (891) and Air Force (894) in seventh through 10th, respectively. Illinois State and Abilene Christian tied for 11th with a team total of 896, Northern Colorado (899) placed 13th, Utah Valley (292) placed 14th and Southern Utah (931) finished 15th. 

Colorado State returns to the links on a short turnaround, traveling to Albuquerque, N.M. to compete Friday and Saturday in New Mexico’s William H. Tucker Intercollegiate. 

Team Scores
1 Colorado State         277-283-279--839 (-1)
2 Kansas                         280-281-288--849 (+9)
3 Fresno State                 291-286-285--862 (+22)
4 Wichita State             295-295-283--873 (+33)
5 Wyoming                 289-293-294--876 (+36)
6 South Dakota State 291-297-290--878 (+38)
7 Weber State                 282-309-288--879 (+39)
8 Denver                         304-295-291--890 (+50)
9 Valparaiso                 296-301-294--891 (+51)
10 Air Force                         303-296-295--894 (+54)
T11 Illinois State                 293-307-296--896 (+56)
T11 Abilene Christian         292-309-295--896 (+56)
13 Northern Colorado 291-311-297--899 (+59)
14 Utah Valley                 304-306-292--902 (+62)
15 Southern Utah         317-304-310--931 (+91)
Top Individual Scores
1 Ben Welle (Kansas)                         67 67 72 206 (-4)
T2 Dominic Kieffer (Colorado State) 68 72 68 208 (-2)
T2 Max Oelfke (Colorado State)         73 66 69 208 (-2)
T4 Connor Peck (Kansas)                         73 70 67 210 (E)
T4 Kyler Dunkle (Colorado State)         63 74 73 210 (E)
T4 Grant Smith (South Dakota State) 71 71 68 210 (E)
7 Alex Lee (Fresno State)                 70 70 71 211 (+1)
T8 Jake Staiano * (Colorado State)         75 68 69 212 (+2)
T8 Grant Bennett (Wichita State)         75 68 69 212 (+2)
10 Trevor Clayton (Fresno State)         73 71 69 213 (+3)
11 Dillon Vaughn (Abilene Christian) 70 73 72 215 (+5)
T12 Chris Korte (Denver)                         73 71 72 216 (+6)
T12 Trent Wallace (Illinois State)         72 74 70 216 (+6)
T14 Blair Bursey (Utah Valley)                 74 72 71 217 (+7)
T14 Blake Cannon * (Colorado State) 71 71 75 217 (+7)
T14 Kamrin Allen (Wyoming)                 69 70 78 217 (+7)
T14 Jared Magoline (Valparaiso)         75 69 73 217 (+7)
T14 Devon Purser (Weber State)         68 76 73 217 (+7)
T19 Adam Ruben (Denver)                         69 75 74 218 (+8)
T19 Sunwoo Choi (Air Force)                 74 73 71 218 (+8)
T19 Kade Crossland * (Colorado)         71 76 71 218 (+8)
T19 Jimmy Makloski (Colorado State) 76 72 70 218 (+8)
T19 Colton Yates (Colorado State)         73 73 72 218 (+8)
T19 Drew McCullough (Wyoming)         69 74 75 218 (+8)
Colorado State Scores
1 Colorado State 277-283-279--839 (-1)
T2 Dominic Kieffer    68-72-68--208 (-2)
T2 Max Oelfke            73-66-69--208 (-2)
T4 Kyler Dunkle         63-74-73--210 (E)
T8 Jake Staiano *       75-68-69--212 (+2)
T14 Blake Cannon *    71-71-75--217 (+7)
T19 Jimmy Makloski    76-72-70--218 (+8)
T19 Colton Yates         73-73-72--218 (+8)
T38 Alec Bone *           77-73-73--223 (+13)
T58 Logan Iverson *   75-78-74--227 (+27)
* Competing as an individual