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Colorado Student-Athlete Spotlight: Derek Tolan
March 16, 2009

By Casey Sanders
Big 12 Campus Correspondent

As the spring golf season shifts into full gear, Colorado senior golfer Derek Tolan is coming off of one of the best fall seasons in school history and is looking to continue solid play.

He started out his senior season with a first place finish at the San Francisco Olympic Club Intercollegiate shooting 1-under par for 54 holes (74-69-70; 213). He also led the team to a second place finish.

“It felt good.  I’m not going to lie, it definitely did feel good,” Tolan said.  “My dad and I talked about it, and I got the so-called monkey off my back in college play with the win and then ultimately I have a goal to get a few more.”

Tolan followed that performance up with a second place finish at the Ron Moore Invitational at Green Valley Ranch in Denver. He finished second to fellow senior teammate Patrick Grady.  Tolan attributes a lot of his success to the friendly rivalry between teammates.

“It is a lot of fun playing with these guys,” Tolan said, “If you slack off they will pass you, and that makes me bring my best everyday and continue to improve. This friendly competition makes the golf team a lot better too.”

In the third tournament of the season, Tolan continued his hot streak by winning the New Mexico William H. Tucker Invitational shooting a 5-under over 54 holes. After winning this tournament, Tolan became only the 10th player in school history to win two tournaments.  Former Colorado greats Hale Irwin and John Lindberg hold the record with four total major tournament wins over a career.

“It is great to be mentioned with, and join that crowd of Colorado greats,” Tolan said. “But I want to leave here having one of the best years, not just semesters in school history. No one ever remembers anything but tournament wins, and that’s how I want to be remembered around here.”

Tolan finished out the fall season ranked No. 18 in the country by GolfStat, and the No. 30-ranked player by GolfWeek. In all 18 of his rounds he shot between 67 and 74, with nine of those being below par. Tolan also finished with a school record fall stroke average of 71, beating out the 71.15 of John Lindberg (1987-1988).

As the spring season rolled around, the CU golf program received a huge gift from alumus and former golfer Steve Kerr. A course the Buffs could call their own.

Kerr purchased the course, located just east of Boulder, Colo., and formed a licensing agreement with the University to provide Colorado’s men’s and women’s programs with their own course.  The Colorado National Golf Club will provide CU with amenities not experienced at the university before.

“We are extremely excited about the impact Colorado National will have on our golf teams, alumni, university, and community,” Colorado men’s head coach Roy Edwards said.  “In studying the many different university golf courses across the country, we feel we have a model that encompasses the positives of each while fitting the specific strengths of CU and the Denver-Boulder metro area.”

CU now joins all Big 12 South schools, as well as Kansas State and Iowa State, in having their own course.

“The nicest thing about having your own course is the lack of restrictions that we had on other courses,” Tolan said. “ It is a great welcome feeling when we go there to play, and it should do wonders for our recruiting in the future.”

The Buffs have gotten off to a slow start in the spring season recording two sixth place finishes in Hawaii and Louisiana.  Tolan also started out the season slow, but looks to rebound in the coming tournaments.

“I will be disappointed if I don’t win any more tournaments, but it’s golf,” Tolan said. “It is very hard to go out there and beat over 100 opponents, but that’s what makes golf so fun because when you do win it is a great accomplishment.”

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