Photo courtesy of DU Athletics

The Denver Men’s golf squad laced up their spikes for the first time this season up in Fort Collins at the Ram Masters Invitational hosted by Colorado State, earlier this week. The tournament was played at the Fort Collins Country Club, a par 70 design playing 7,218 yards. The two-day event required golfers to play two loops on Monday and a final loop on Tuesday.

The Crimson and Gold went with a mixed lineup that featured veteran leadership in seniors Chris Korte (Littleton, Colo.) and Jake Kelley (Littleton, Colo.) and a complementary group of talented youngsters in sophomores Isaac Petersilie (Colorado Spring, Colo.) and Eric Hagen (Aberdeen, Wash.) and freshman John Sand (Hoquiam, Wash.). Senior Michael Boylan (Patterson, N.Y.) and Sophomore Roy Kang (North Vancouver, B.C.) competed as individuals at the event.

Korte, coming off a successful summer campaign where he was victorious at the 117th CGA Match Play Championship in June, led the Monday charge for the Pioneers. The senior posted back to back rounds of 69, leaving him at two under par and in a tie for seventh on the individual leaderboard going into the final round.

Kelley (71-72) and Petersilie (73-70) stayed within striking distance and both finished Monday at three over par and in a tie for 24th. Hagen (76-79) and Sand (82-74) finished their day at 15 over par and 16 over par respectively.

As a team, the Pios closed out the day in seventh position with an aggregate score of 574 and 14 over par. Denver sat 26 strokes behind the host, Colorado State. The Rams held a comfortable lead on the field, shooting a record low 12 under par on the first day of play.

“Just keep battling,” Head Coach Erik Billinger said, when asked what message he would relay to his troops before Tuesday’s final round. “You can learn something from every round and every day. You’ve got to keep battling when you’re playing team golf.”

The team heeded Billinger’s advice and was able to grind out an aggregate score of 287 and seven over par on Tuesday. It was good enough to move them up to sixth position on the team leaderboard out of 19 competing schools.

Korte finished the competition with a two over par 72, and slipped out of the top 10 into 11th position. Kelley shot the team’s low round of the day, carding a one under par 69; he would finish in a tie for 18th. A final round, three over par 73, for Petersilie put him in a tie for 28th, and he was matched by Hagen who finished in 85th. Sand shot a solid 4 over par 74 to finish out the tournament in a tie for 91st.

Kang ended up at 16 over par and in a tie for the 77th spot after rounds of 76-76-74 while Boylen closed out his play at 18 over par and in a tie for the 85th position after rounds of 79-76-73.

The team teed it up again in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the Tucker Invitational on Sept. 22-23. The Pioneers posted 10-over 298 to close in 10th place in the tournament.