Split Decision

CSU’s Connor Jones wins Mountain West Conference individual title; Rams finish second as team after holding big lead

By Gary Baines – 5/1/2022

At one point during Sunday’s final round of the men’s Mountain West Conference Championship, it looked like a near sure thing that the Colorado State men’s golf squad was headed for a sweep of the team and individual titles in Bremerton, Wash.

After all, the Rams led the team competition by 10 strokes, and CSU’s Connor Jones was five ahead in the individual standings. 

Alas, the Rams had to settle for just one prize when play concluded on Sunday evening. While CSU lost its team lead — and the automatic NCAA Regional berth that goes to the MWC champion — Jones did prevail in the individual competition thanks to a birdie on the 17th hole.

Connor Jones has been impressive since transferring to CSU. (Photo: CSU men’s golf Twitter)

It was the first individual college victory for the Westminster resident since he transferred from the University of Denver in the offseason. But Jones now has five top-11 finishes since he joined the Rams, including this victory and a runner-up. While at DU, Jones notched his first college win, albeit in a small-field event — in 2019.

Jones became CSU’s first individual MWC championship since 2010, when Ryan Peterson won. Current PGA Tour player Martin Laird also claimed a Mountain West title, in 2002.

On Sunday, Jones closed with a 1-over-par 73, leaving him with a 10-under total, one stroke better than runner-up Hugo Townsend of Boise State. Jones had been tied with Townsend, but a birdie on No. 17 and a par on 18 gave the Ram the title.

On the team end of things, CSU was seeking its first MWC victory since 2010. But after the Rams were up by 10 on San Diego State early in the round, SDSU made up a lot of ground thanks to 11 birdies by counting players in the final six holes.

At the end of the day, San Diego State finished four strokes ahead of the Rams, outscoring them by six on Sunday.

For all the scores from the MWC, CLICK HERE.

— Meanwhile, at the men’s Summit League tournament, which started on Sunday in Newton, Kan., DU holds second place, trailing North Dakota State by five. Denver’s Jackson Solem and Carson Griggs share fourth place individually at 69. SCORES

About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for ColoradoGolf.org since 2009. He was voted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2021. Email: ColoradoGolfJournal@mac.com)