Photo courtesy of DU Athletics

The Reserve at Spanos Park out in Stockton, California was the site of the latest outing for the DU Men’s Golf squad. The par 72 layout played at just over 7,000 yards and rendered the lowest final team score on the season for the Pioneers.

After a long absence from competition following the cancellation of the team’s home tournament, the Paintbrush Invitational, the boys looked eager to get on the course. Senior Jake Kelley (Littleton, Colo.) spearheaded a day one charge with a four-under 68 that consisted of seven total birdies, and he would enter round two in a tie for second on the individual leaderboard. Sophomore Roy Kang (North Vancouver, B. C.) wasn’t far behind him with an opening three-under par 69 in which he only dropped one shot all day and sophomore Eric Hagen (Aberdeen, Wash.) carded a solid two-under par 70. The team was positioned only three strokes behind the 22nd ranked team in the nation, the Santa Clara Broncos, going into Friday’s loop.

Freshmen John Sand (Hoquiam, Wash.) and Jackson Solem (Longmont, Colo.), both of whom were competing as individuals at the event, shot even par 72 on day one. Solem was making his collegiate debut.

After struggling on day one with a three-over 75, senior Chris Korte (Littleton, Colo.) made his presence felt on moving day. He jumped 56 spots on the individual leaderboard to 21st with a season-low four-under 68 and made no bogeys in the process. Hagen continued to ride his wave of momentum and was in red figures for the second consecutive day with a one-under 71. Solem followed suit with a 71 and his first under par round in collegiate play. Otherwise, it was a rough day for Denver. The team would slide to seventh on the team leaderboard with 18 holes left to play.

During the final round, Korte would again surge. A steady two-under 70 for the senior allowed him to notch a top-20 individual finish, and he led the way for the Crimson and Gold. Kelley and sophomore Isaac Petersilie (Colorado Springs, Colo.) shot a pair of one-over par 73’s while Kang and Hagen both posted two-over par 74’s. The team would close out in 11th place at even par when play ceased. Santa Clara would walk away with trophy in-hand after a team effort of 30-under par.

The youngster Solem would card a one-under par 71 en route to an impressive 23rd place finish. If Solem’s performance is a sign of things to come, he will be an asset in the team’s push toward the league championship in the Spring.

Denver will be back on the course in late January to begin their Spring play down in Tucson, Arizona.