Mastery of No. 9 Helps Propel Mountain Lions to Tournament Lead
DURANGO -- The ninth hole at Hillcrest Golf Club proved pivotal Monday for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
The Mountain Lions gained five strokes on their closest competitor, Western New Mexico, on that hole in the second round alone to lift UCCS to the lead after two rounds at the RMAC Spring Championship.
UCCS scored four pars and a birdie in the second round on the deceptive, 199-yard par 3 which graded out as the third most difficult hole on the course. Western New Mexico, meanwhile, had two pars, two bogies and a double bogey.
Due in part to their ability to handle No. 9, the Mountain Lions shot a 3-under par 281 in the second round, the best score of the day, and were sitting at even par going into Tuesday's final round.
Western New Mexico was in second, seven stroke back, while host Fort Lewis was third at 10-over par.
UCCS was one of only two teams that had a better score in the second round than it did in the first. That was no accident.
"We had a game plan and we all stuck to it. It paid dividends," said UCCS' David Cosel. "Our second round is usually a lot higher than our first. This time, we tried to be a lot more conservative in the second round."
Despite the name, the tournament is only one of four that counts toward the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference's championship. Points are awarded for each RMAC team beaten during each of the four qualifying tournaments, two of which were played in the fall, with the team earning the most points being named the RMAC champion. The final qualifying tournament will be the Northwest Region Spring Head-to-Head on April 19-20.
UCCS came into the RMAC Spring Championship leading the points standings with13. Western New Mexico is second with 12, followed by Colorado State-Pueblo (10) and Colorado Christian (9).
Todd Napikoski and Tyler Bishop shot matching 2-under par 69s in the second round to pace UCCS. Napikoski's two-round score of 140 leads UCCS and puts him third individually.
"I hit the ball really well," said Napikoski. "My short game was really killing me or I might have been 10-under. All in all, I'm pretty happy with how it went."
Bishop and Cosel are tied for fifth at 142, while Eric Winder is in a ninth-place tie at 146. Brian Morfeld shot a 152.
Cosel might have been under par in the opening round. He was sitting at 4-under through 12 holes, but two bogeys and a double bogey after going out of bounds on the par 5 18th made him settle for an even par 71.
"I've got to learn how to close out rounds better," said Cosel. "I thought I played really well. I hit the ball really good even though the scoring wasn't as good as it could have been."
Western New Mexico's Greg Pool and Fort Lewis' Luke Tanner are tied for first individually at 138 (4-under par).
With the weather forecast calling for windy conditions for Tuesday's final round, the scores could climb. That suits Napikoski and the Mountain Lions just fine.
"I hope it blows, like they're saying, about 25-30 miles per hour," he said. "We've been playing in the wind all season and I think we'd be at an advantage."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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