Freshman Comes Up Big as UCCS Wins RMAC Spring Championship
DURANGO -- Freshman Brian Morfeld came up biggest when it counted most.
Morfeld shot a 1-under par 70 Tuesday to allow the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs hold on to win the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Spring Golf Championship at Hillcrest Golf Club.
Because Morfeld, the Mountain Lions' No. 5 golfer, scored so well, UCCS was able to discard No. 1 golfer Eric Winder's 79 (in collegiate golf, the worst score of each round doesn't count towards the team score. Had the 79 counted, UCCS would have finished behind second-place Fort Lewis.
"That was huge; that won us the tournament," said teammate Todd Napikowski. "He's an awesome player. Whenever he gets it going, he helps out the team."
Morfeld's performance was even more impressive considering he struggled to an 80 during the seond round.
"I was hitting the ball a lot better than I have the past couple of days," said Morfeld. "My chipping and putting was incredible. I was getting up and down from parts of the course where you shouldn't get up and down from."
The Mountain Lions' three-round team score of 858 was five strokes better than the host Skyhawks. Western New Mexico took third at 870, while Nebraska-Kearney and Regis were tied for fourth at 891.
"I told the team that we didn't need to be overly aggressive, but we needed to come to play today," said UCCS coach Phil Trujillo. "Playing on someone's home course that plays its home course pretty well, I knew (Fort Lewis) would come after us pretty good."
The tournament was the third of four that count 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. Thus, if a team takes first place, it gets seven points, six for second etc. The final qualifying tournament will be the Northwest Region Spring Head-to-Head on April 19-20.
With two first-place finishes and a second place in the first three tournaments, UCCS has earned 20 points toward the RMAC title. Western New Mexico is second with 17 points, followed by Colorado State-Pueblo (12), Colorado Christian (10), Fort Lewis (10), Nebraska-Kearney (7), Regis (7) and Colorado School of Mines (0).
Finishing strong at the head-to-head and winning the RMAC championship is a primary goal for the Mountain Lions.
"We have a really good team this year," said Napikoski. "It would boost us into regionals and on into nationals with a lot of confidence. We're good enough to get it done."
Fort Lewis' Luke Tanner was more thn good enough, winning top individual honors with a 4-under par 209. Napikoski was second with a 2-under par 211. Western New Mexico's Marcus Molina (213) was third, while Western New Mexico's Greg Pool and UCCS' Tyler Bishop each shot 214.
"I played solid -- nothing special -- not quite good enough to win," said Napikoski. "Our team got it done, so I'm happy about that."
By finishing ahead of Colorado State-Pueblo, UCCS gained another point in the Steel & Silver rivalry series between the schools. Including Saturday's split in softball, UCCS now leads the series points standings 15-9.
Points remain in golf for next week's Spring Head-to-Head and the subsequent NCAA Regional Tournament. Two points will also be on the line if the school's softball teams should meet in the RMAC tournament. In addition, the school whose student-athletes achieve the highest GPA for the academic year will be awarded five points.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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