Aggressive Mountain Lions Climb All the Way to Fourth Place in Second Round at Golf Nationals
Phil Trujillo let the cats out Thursday and they ran straight up the leaderboard.
Eric Winder shot a 4-under par 66 and Tyler Bishop added a 2-under par 68 to lead the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs to a team score of 4-under in the second round of the NCAA Division II National Championship.
It was the third-best round shot by any of the 20 teams competing for the national title at Memorial Park Golf Course on Thursday and vaulted the Mountain Lions all the way up into a three-way tie for fourth-place overall. UCCS had been in a tie for 16th after Wednesday's first round.
To make the leap, Trujillo loosened the reins. Coming into nationals, the UCCS coach urged his players to ever-so-slightly curb their natural, aggressive tendencies and play a smarter, more reserved game.
"Going in, the way this course is laid out, we didn't think we could be as aggressive as we usually like to be," said Trujillo.
Thursday, he told them to attack.
"(We) got a little bit more aggressive," he said. "The gameplan was to move forward fast. I think we did that today."
It worked. In addition to the below-par rounds from Winder and Bishop, Todd Napikoski shot an even-par 70, while David Cosel and Brian Morfeld each shot 72.
The Mountain Lions ended the day with a two-round score of 567 (7-over par) to sit in a tie with Grand Canyon and No. 1-ranked West Florida for fourth. Those three teams trail first-round leader Clayton by one stroke and Indianapolis by three strokes.
Georgia College and State University holds the team lead at 1-under par (559) after firing a remarkable 8-under par in Round 2.
Trujillo, who earlier Thursday was named the Eaton Golf Pride Division II Northwest Region Coach of the Year by the Golf Coaches Association of America, said that the he and his team had underestimated the adjustment needed to play in the hot, humid climate of southern Texas.
"We got off to a poor start; our worst round of the season. Not a very good time to have a round like that," said Trujillo of Wednesday's round. "It's pretty tough when it's this hot out (since) we never really get a chance to play in weather like this."
Indeed. UCCS is one of only six schools in the tournament that doesn't come from either the south or California. The others are Indianapolis, Washburn (Kan.), Grand Valley State (Mich.), Bryant (R.I.) and Indiana of Pa.
Winder birdied three of his final five holes to finish his 66 and bring his two-round score to even par, tied for 13th individually. He's joined at 140 by Napikoski, who birdied No. 6 (UCCS started on the back nine Thursday) to remain level.
Bishop was sitting at 3-under with four consecutive birdies before finishing Thursday's round bogey-birdie-bogey. Cosel bogeyed No. 9 to finish at 72 after Morfeld had birdied the same hole to reach the same score.
"We only lost a couple coming in today as opposed to yesterday when we went from plus six to plus 11 in a hurry," said Trujillo.
With rounds remaining on Friday and Saturday, Trujillo and the Mountain Lions are cautiously optimistic.
"We put ourselves into a hole (Wednesday), but the boys are good," said Trujillo. "They're capable of playing with any kind of competition.
"We put together a good round today so we'll live to fight again tomorrow. Hopefully, we can get this going again tomorrow and get ourselves a little bit up the ladder."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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|June 17, 2008||Trujillo Adds Two Recruits to Nationally-Ranked Golf Program||Looking to deepen a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs golf team that finished 12th nationally this past season, coach Phil Trujillo announced Tuesday the signing of two recruits. Joining the Mountain Lions for the 2008-09 season will be Riley Andrews, a transfer from the University of Colorado-Boulder, and Wade Henry, a transfer from Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Arizona.|
|May 23, 2008||Napikoski Named Honorable Mention All-American||University of Colorado at Colorado Springs golfer Todd Napikoski was named NCAA Division II Ping All-American honorable mention, the Golf Coaches Association of American announced Friday.|
|May 17, 2008||UCCS Finishes National Championship in 12th Place||A promising start Saturday went sour quickly as the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs finished the 2008 NCAA Division II National Championship tied for 12th place.|
|May 16, 2008||UCCS Slips to Sixth After Third Round of NCAA Golf Nationals||Tyler Bishop shot an even-par 70, but the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs slipped into a tie for sixth place after Friday's third round at the NCAA Division II National Championship at Memorial Park Golf Course.|
|May 15, 2008||Trujillo Named Northwest Region Coach of the Year||Phil Trujillo, coach of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springsâ€™ nationally-ranked golf program, was named Eaton Golf Pride Division II Northwest Region Coach of the Year, the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) announced Thursday.|