GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Just five years has golf been a part of the Colorado Mesa Univeristy varsity sports catalog, and in his first year, freshman Colin Prater has already achieved something no other maverick golfer has in program history.
"I'm just excited to put Colorado Mesa on the map," Prater said.
Last week, Prater shot a 219 (+3) at the NCAA super regional golf tournament in Austin, Texas, which was good enough for 6th place and an individual qualification for the National Championships next week.
"It's the best DII players in the nation and so I'm just very honored and privileged to be able to go and play with them, and hopefully i can show them that i can go win this thing."
It's the final stage of this season's journey, but earning a trip to compete nationally was no gimme.
Tied for the lead through 36 holes, Prater fired a one-over on the front nine of the final round, but on the 11th hole, he penciled in an 8 on his scorecard- a quadruple bogey.
"I realized from there, i had to make some birdies if i had any chance of going to nationals," Prater said.
With just seven holes left, he didn't falter, birdying the 12th plus two more holes coming in to finish the round with a respectable 76. But even he didn't think it was enough.
"I was walking to the car and thought i hadn't made it. I got a chance to look at the leader board and calm down and relax, and i kind of realized that i had done something pretty special."
CMU head coach Paul Brown says that same maturity to come back from that disaster hole is what separates 19-year old prater from others..
"He's learned to control his emotions and is able put a bad hole or a bad shot behind him," Brown said. "He's just been able to take it to the next level, he's really a great learner."
"Golf's 90% mental and 10% physical," Prater added. "So the stronger your mental game is, the better player you're going to be."
The NCAA National Tournament begins Monday in Allendale, Michigan.