After a four-year absence, the Colorado golf team is thrilled to be back in the NCAA Tournament.
Beginning Thursday, the Buffaloes will compete in the Central/Fayetteville Regional at The Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark.
"We're definitely excited," Buffs head coach Roy Edwards said. "It's a goal we have every year and it's one of the goals that we met this year.
"It's where you want to be, especially after last year. We really feel like we did everything possible to get in (in 2012) and just weren't selected."
Teams are selected for the NCAA Tournament much like they are in basketball. CU had a good year last year, but played even better this spring.
"It was nice to not sweat it too bad during the selection knowing we were going to make it," Edwards said.
CU's last trip to the regionals came in 2009, when it finished 13th -- the highest regional finish in program history. That was Edwards' third season as head coach and the Buffs had made it to regionals every year to that point.
"After that, we started rebuilding with a lot of the guys that are on the team now," Edwards said.
Going through the rebuilding process makes this year a satisfying one for CU's two seniors, Jason Burstyn and Derek Fribbs.
"It's my first time in postseason and it's a great opportunity to do some big things," Burstyn said. "It's pretty exciting. It's definitely what we all work for every day, to get to the postseason. We've finally done it and it's a great accomplishment.
"At the same time, it's no time to sit back and relax. We just want to keep going."
The Buffs have a goal of getting through this tournament and into the NCAA Championships, which will be held May 28-June 2. To get there, the Buffs need to finish among the top five teams this week.
"What I understand, apparently it's a very difficult golf course and it puts a premium on hitting the ball in the fairway," Edwards said. "I'm sure mitigating mistakes is going to be big and the five teams that do that the best are probably going to be ones that advance."
Considering how well they've played most of the year, the Buffs believe they can be one of the five teams that advance.
"I hear the course is very difficult, so if we play smart, we can probably get one of those five sports," Burstyn said. "I like our chances a lot. I think a hard golf course helps us."
In addition to the two seniors, junior Johnny Hayes, sophomore David Oraee and freshmen Philip Juel-Berg are slated to play for the Buffs this week.
Of the five, just two have NCAA regional experience. Hayes went there with Towson in 2010 and Fribbs qualified as an individual player in 2012.
Regardless of the experience going in, the Buffs are excited with where they are going as a program.
"Definitely feel good about where the guys are and where the team is headed," Edwards said.
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