Jamie Bermel thought his team could win this weekend, but never imagined it would happen like this.
The CSU Rams menâ€™s golf team won the Mountain West Conference Championship in Tucson, Arizona this weekend and broke a record in the process. The Rams led from beginning to end, finishing the competition shooting a combined 834 (-18) â€“â€“ a MWC tournament record â€“â€“ and 15 strokes ahead of second place San Diego State.
CSU head coach Jamie Bermel said he never doubted his teamâ€™s ability to win the tournament, but didnâ€™t expect them to pull off a blow out.
â€œWell I thought it would be a fight all the way down to the last hole,â€ the 11-year Rams coach said. â€œWe just kept plugging along and kept making birdies. Before I knew it, we were up by six and then 10. It wasnâ€™t much of a match those last six holes.â€
A stellar performance from Ryan Peterson powered CSU during the weekend. The sophomore posted a three round score of 205 (-8) and won the tournamentâ€™s individual first place title by two strokes.
Peterson said he was surprised by his success, especially after playing with a cut on his pointer finger. The Minnesota native explained that he really struggled in the pre-tournament practice round.
â€œI didnâ€™t really feel good going into the tournament, â€œPeterson said. â€œI went there, stuck it out and did my practice round. I stayed focused and told myself I could do it.â€
Seniors Bryce Hanstad and Riley Arp also turned in solid performances for the Rams, finishing fourth and fifth while shooting 207 (-6) and 206 (-5), respectively.
Hanstad said he was proud of Petersonâ€™s performance.
â€œRyan (Peterson) has had some good finishes this spring for us, and his confidence just shot through the roof to where heâ€™s become a regular in the lineup,â€ Hanstad said. â€œWeâ€™ve been waiting for him to break through, and this was a big win for his confidence. Hopefully we can keep it going into regionals.â€
CSUâ€™s victory marks their second MWC title in the last three years. The Rams took home the championship in 2008 before finishing a disappointing 23 in the regional tournament.
Bermel and Peterson agreed that Ramsâ€™ hot streak gives the team a tremendous amount of momentum. With a victory this weekend, CSU has won two straight tournaments heading into the NCAA Regional tournament scheduled for May 21-23.
Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.