ERIE, Colo. – The University of Wyoming men’s golf team set a program record for strokes below par in a 54-hole tournament, posting a final score of 845 (-19) en route to a second-place finish in a field of 19 teams at the Mark Simpson Colorado Invite on Tuesday. Senior Ryan Wallen capped a brilliant tournament with a final-round 68 (-4), finishing the tournament in second place and tying for the second-best individual tournament finish in Wyoming history at 206 (-10). Four Cowboys finished in the top 20 places in the field of 108 golfers as UW missed out on a share of the tournament win by just one stroke at the Colorado National Golf Club.
“It was quite a day,” Wyoming head coach Joe Jensen said Tuesday afternoon. “We needed it. It’s good for our guys, especially after a long three-tournament trip with ups and downs. That was good for us to just keep fighting and to hang in there. I’m proud of the kids.”
After posting a career-best 65 on Monday afternoon, which was tied for the day’s best round, Wallen’s 68 on Tuesday tied for the second-best round of the day. After recording a birdie on the fourth hole, Wallen used just three strokes on the par-five, 576-yard seventh hole to contribute one of UW’s tournament-leading three eagles. He ended the round with birdies on the final two holes to make a run at Northern Colorado’s Coby Welch, who captured the individual title with a 54-hole score of 205 (-11).
“Ryan has really matured every year,” Jensen said of his senior star. “He has really grown well in our program. He’s at a point where he’s wanting to get better and he’s wanting to be pushed. He’s responding from the push and I’m happy for his success. He’s so good for our team.”
Wallen’s 10-under par finish matched former Cowboy Gabe Maier for the second-best 54-hole finish in UW history. Maier’s 206 (-10) came at the Denver Desert Shootout in 2011, while the UW individual tournament score record of 204 (-12) was set by Kurt Kowaluk in 2002.
Not to be overshadowed by Wallen’s incredible performance were the three additional Cowboys to place in the top 20. Drew McCullough tied for 13th place after carding a final-round 70 (-2) for a 54-hole score of 212 (-4). Glenn Workman collected his second sub-70 performance of the tournament on Tuesday, shooting 69 (-3) to finish the tournament tied for 16th place at 213 (-3). Sophomore John Murdock made the most of his first appearance in UW’s starting lineup, going 70-71-73 at the two-day tourney for a score of 214 (-2).
Wyoming recorded 50 birdies, the second-most in the field, and led the field on par-three holes with a stroke average of 3.05. The team finish of 19-under par broke the previous program record of 14-under par, which Wyoming achieved at the 2012 Battle in the Tetons, the 2006 Ron Moore Invite, and the 1998 Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate. Host Colorado rode two individual top-10 finishes to a final score of 844 (-20) to beat Wyoming by just one stroke, while Utah, Campbell and Northern Colorado rounded out the top five.
The Cowboys will head to Parker, Colo., on Oct. 10-11 for their final fall tournament, the Paintbrush Intercollegiate.
Team: 2nd, 280-285-280 = 845 (-19)
2. Ryan Wallen: 73-65-68 = 206 (-10)
T13. Drew McCullough: 68-74-70 = 212 (-4)
T16. Glenn Workman: 68-76-69 = 213 (-3)
T19. John Murdock: 71-70-73 = 214 (-2)
T36. Quintin Pope*: 71-71-75 = 217 (+1)
T82. Arron Lickteig: 74-78-73 = 225 (+9)
T93. Dan Starzinski*: 73-81-74 = 228 (+12)
106. Cole Bundy*: 85-85-83 = 253 (+37)
*denotes golfer competed as individual