The DU men’s golf squad was back in action at the Bandon Dunes Championship in Bandon, Oregon from March 12–14. The 6,893 yard par 72 Old MacDonald course is a unique links-style track that differs from most of the courses that the team has played on thus far this season, and mirrors the type of course typically seen over in Scotland, the birthplace of golf. With a lack of wind protection and severe undulation, the course demands that a golfer possess an array of shot trajectories and shot types in order to succeed, and the Pios held up well against the difficult challenge.
Senior Petter Mikalsen (Stavanger, Norway) led the way in round one, shooting a five under par 67. His round featured five straight birdies on the back nine. He ended round one in third place on the individual leaderboard following the impressive performance.
Junior Jake Kelley (Littleton, Colorado) posted the second-lowest score on the team in round one with a one-over par 73. The squad as a whole shot a total of one over par 289 to finish the day in the eighth spot on the team leaderboard.
“We are looking forward to the next two days as it looks like some weather might be coming in and that will provide us with an opportunity to jump some teams during tough conditions on the course,” said Head Coach Erik Billinger after 18 holes, and he was correct in his prediction.
Despite windy conditions on day two of the championship, the team was able to move up one spot to seventh with a three over par 291. Freshman Isaac Petersilie (Colorado Springs, Colorado) came out of the gates hot with two birdies in his first five holes and didn’t look back. Petersilie carded a three under par 69, and that would move him into red figures and into a tie for 15th individually.
“My swing felt good,” Petersilie said. “I stayed patient when the wind was blowing. The putter got hot at times as well, which helped get some momentum. The team is in the hunt, and if we all grind for every shot, we should have a solid finish.”
Freshman Troy Dangler (Grand Junction, Colorado) was also a major contributor, finishing with a solid even par 72 in round two. Mikalsen shot a three over par on the day but remained in a tie for 11th individually after 36 holes.
Petersilie would continue his excellent play in the third round with a two under par 70, and he finished 13th overall to lead the team. Dangler posted a two over par 74 on the final day of the championship. These two performances would allow Denver to maintain a tie for eighth as play came to an end with an overall score of 14 over par and 878 (289-291-298). Mikalsen would shoot a four over par 76 and end in a tie for 20th individually.
Defending NCAA champion Oregon took home the team title once again with a total score of 28 under par and 836 (275-285-276), topping the closest competitor by 21 strokes. Texas Tech’s Hannes Ronneblad won the individual side, shooting 10 under par.
Solid contributions from veterans such as Mikalsen, and underclassmen Petersilie and Dangler, highlight a trend in the right direction for the Pioneers. Denver was third in overall birdies for the week with 52, topped only by Oregon and Texas Tech.