Denver Men’s Golf Looks to Build in 2017-18
Pioneers open year in Fort Collins with Ram Masters Invitational
Sept. 15, 2017
DENVER – The University of Denver men’s golf team starts its season on Sept. 18 in Fort Collins, Colo. as Colorado State hosts the Ram Masters Invitational.
The Pioneers and head coach Erik Billinger will look to continue on the success from last spring, as the team earned four top-10 finishes. In the Summit League Championships in May, senior Chris Korte finished 12th, the highest of all returning DU golfers. Korte was also named a 2017 Srixon/Cleveland All-America Scholar by the Golf Coaches’ Association of America.
Billinger’s team this season will feature a lot of experience thanks to seniors Korte, Michael Boylan, Jake Kelley and Johan Werge. The squad also features a trio of sophomores in Eric Hagen, Roy Kang and Isaac Petersilie, as well as the freshman duo of John Sand and Jackson Solem.
“The returning players will play a key role in our success this season,” said Billinger. “Summer competition is always very beneficial for them to continue to gain experience and compete on different courses against the best in the country.”
One such pair from DU that gained valuable experience this summer was Korte and Petersilie.
“Chris and Isaac having great summers will help them take that experience and leadership into our season,” stated Billinger. “Chris won the Colorado Amateur Match Play Championship and Isaac was a consistent performer in the Colorado Open, Colorado State Amateur (top 3 finisher) and many other events.”
Korte and fellow senior Kelley are both expected to be hungry and competitive this season after they both posted successful seasons in 2016-17.
“They both have a high desire to win a collegiate tournament and go to the NCAA Championships,” explained Billinger. “They are also both turning professional after graduation, so I know they are both going to work hard all season to prepare themselves best for the professional competition, and that leadership will be a huge asset to our team.”
Also looking to make an impact this season is the duplet of freshmen Solem and Sand.
“Because of how much they’ve competed and traveled to various tournaments throughout their junior careers, they’re mature like upperclassmen,” Billinger added. “They both have the game to contribute right away and be candidates for Summit League Freshman of the Year.”
Coach Billinger believes in the philosophy to be the best, you have to compete against the best. Which is one reason the team is starting the season in Fort Collins.
“This year’s schedule shows that philosophy as we compete against some of the best teams in the country every single week,” said Billinger. “Fort Collins will be no different and we will get to compete against great teams right away.”
The Ram Masters is a 54-hole collegiate tournament; the course is a par 70 and 7,218 yards. The event will begin with a shotgun start.
This fall, DU heads to Albuquerque, N.M. for the Tucker Invitational and Stockton, Calif. for the Stockton Pacific Invitational.
The Pioneers will also be hitting the road in the spring for tough battles at the Arizona State Thunderbird and in Texas for the Aggie Invitational, giving the players a variety of experiences throughout their collegiate careers.
DU hosts serious competition in October thanks to the team’s second annual Paintbrush Invitational.
“It has been amazing to watch the dream of the Paintbrush Invitational happen and gain an amazing reputation for being such a new event,” expressed Billinger. “It is great for the golf community in Colorado. It is great for our schedule and to be able to have all of our guys compete early in the season; it’s also great for our support system and donors to be able to watch us compete close to home.”
While the schedule will be tough this season, its strength will not only prep the team for league action, but the NCAA Championships as well.
“We need to just focus on improving and getting better,” said Billinger. “Our guys dream about winning conference and I know if we work really hard that it will help us when it comes time to compete in each and every event.”
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