Coaches often have concerns about fielding young teams, but as the Colorado men's golf team heads to the NCAA regional tournament this week, Buffaloes head coach Roy Edwards feels confident about one important aspect of his squad.

"The guys are very competitive," Edwards said. "There's not a whole lot that really shakes them. It's a group that, they love playing golf, they love playing in tournaments."

Starting Thursday, and playing through Saturday, the Buffs will compete in the regional at the Auburn University Club in Auburn, Ala. The Buffs are one of 81 schools around the country competing in six regionals.

CU’s David Oraee.
CU's David Oraee. (CU sports information)

It doesn't bother the Buffs that defending national champion, and current No. 1 Alabama is in the same regional. Nor does it bother them that 2012 champion Texas will be there, or that five top-25 teams in the Golfweek.com rankings are on hand.

The top five teams will advance to the NCAA Finals, to be held May 23-28, at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas.

"They really want to compete with the best," Edwards said of his team, which is ranked No. 53 by Golfweek.com. "I know they're looking at it as an opportunity. These guys are fully expecting to go to Alabama and play well and advance to the finals. That's kind of the goal and mindset of the group."


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It's a very young group that Edwards brings to Alabama. Junior David Oraee leads the way, with sophomore Philip Juel-Berg and freshmen Ethan Freeman and twins Jeremy and Yannik Paul also heading to regional.

Oraee said that entering the spring, he didn't feel the Buffs were in position to get this far and added, "We really had to play well to solidify a spot. We really responded to what we needed to do and finished well."

Oraee said the group had to find its identity, and doing that has led to an impressive spring.

"Fearless and just going out there and not really worrying about results and just playing our game and staying within ourselves," he said of the identity of the Buffs.

Doing just that helped them finish strong at the Pac-12 Championships two weeks ago. They were in 10th place at the mid-point of the tournament before rallying to finish fourth in a strong field.

It was another positive step in what has been a good season to this point.

"It's been great to see them, especially the younger guys, really develop and then to see Philip and David take over more of a leadership role, as well," Edwards said. "That's been really important."

Continuing to progress as a team could lead to a great weekend for CU. The Buffs are in the regional stage for the 18th time in the 26-year history of the regional format, but they haven't advanced to the NCAA Finals since 2002.

"I think (the chances) are good," Edwards said. "If we play well, we have a great shot to advance. If we don't play well, we probably don't have a great shot to advance.

"We would be disappointed if we didn't make it."

As has been the case all year with this team, expect the Buffs to make a run at it.

"There's going to be times that are tough and things aren't going to be going our way, but it's a long tournament and we just have to stay in it and try to minimize those times as much as possible," Oraee said. "We definitely have the firepower to take it really low. There's really good teams in this regional, but if we take care of our business and keep our heads on straight, I think we have a really good shot."

Contact BuffZone.com Writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.