Photo courtesy of Denver Athletics

The DU men’s golf squad teed up for the first time since Oct. 29 at the Arizona Intercollegiate tournament in Tucson on Jan. 23 and 24. The tournament was held at the Sewailo Golf Club, which is a par 71 course that plays at a lengthy 7,262 total yards.

Players battled blustery conditions and cool temperatures on day one in the desert, but junior Chris Korte (Littleton, Colorado) was able to grind out a team-leading three over par score before play was suspended due to darkness. This was good enough to place him in a tie for fourth and the team in a tie for eighth going into day two.

“Chris [Korte] played great and handled the adverse conditions beautifully,” said Head Coach Erik Billinger. “It was the type of day where you needed to be mentally tough and not beat yourself up when mistakes happen and just keep fighting.”

Day two would bring more favorable weather conditions for the golfers, but the Pioneers would ultimately fall in the event standings.

Korte struggled closing out round two, tacking on a few bogeys, but would post a third round one under par 70. He carded his best performance of the season and finished tied for 12th individually with a total score of 218 (72-76-70), five over par. He would end up with the most birdies of any player in the field with 14.

Senior Petter Mikalsen (Stavanger, Norway) would come on strong in the third round as well, shooting an even par 71, putting him in a tie for 20th individually with a 54-hole score of 221. Freshman Isaac Petersilie (Colorado Springs, Colorado) finished tied for 37th with a total score of 226, and junior Jake Kelley (Littleton, Colorado) and freshman Roy Kang (North Vancouver, British Columbia) each ended tied for 72nd, shooting 237.

The Pioneers finished eleventh out of 18 competing teams with an aggregate score of 898 (304-299-295), 41 strokes behind defending NCAA champion University of Oregon who finished atop the leaderboard.

“We still need to put better team scores together and get a better fourth score. Once we do that, we’ll be able to beat any team in the country on any given day,” said Billinger after the final round.

The team will compete next at the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate on Feb. 17-19 at the Classic Club in Palm Springs, California.