Senior heads to NCAA Championship Finals
Senior David Oraee will be the University of Colorado’s sole representative at the NCAA Championship tournament at The Concession Club in Bradenton, Florida on May 29-June 3.
With his team finishing one place out of advancing from the Central Regional in Noblesville, Ind., Oraee’s 68-70-71, 209 score qualified him for second place overall—and first among players whose teams failed to qualify for National. The Greeley native finished three strokes behind Brian Campbell of the University of Illinois, the top team from the event.
Oraee's 209 ranks as the second best 54-hole postseason tournament score by a Buff. Bobby Kalinowski scored 208 in the 1994 Regional at Oklahoma City.
Oraee is the thirteenth CU Buff to represent the school as an individual at the championship tournament. The last one to do so was Derek Tolan, who missed the cut in 2008. The top finisher was Hale Irwin, who won the event in 1967.
“The tournament gets a lot of coverage from the media,” said Oraee. “It’s a chance to be able to show everyone that Colorado is a good golf school and deserves recognition.
“I’m excited to be getting to play against the best 156 players in the country. I’ve been in big tournaments before and it will help me from getting nervous and to stay in the moment.”
Oraee is one of six Buffaloes all time to win both Colorado’s Stroke Play Championship (2014) and Match Play Championship (2013).
Following a practice round with fellow individual qualifiers Gudmundur Kristjansson (East Tennessee State) and Tolver Dozier (Troy) on Thursday, May 28, Oraee will play with the same pair in the Friday and Saturday rounds. The players will be re-paired Sunday and, after the cut, again for Monday’s individual final round.
Oraee’s 72.03 stroke average this season ranks second on the Buffs, just behind Jeremy Paul’s 72.00. His 73.48 career stroke average ranks third all time. His season average ranks him fifth all time among CU golfers. Kane Webber holds the season record at 71.46 strokes set in 2003-04 as well as the career record with a 72.90 average.
Ranked 160 nationally by Golfweek and 193 by GolfStat, Oraee has gone 1,529 holes since he last carded a score higher than double bogey; in 2,646 holes of college golf he has just seven holes worse than double bogey (.0026 percent).
“I have always prided myself in being able to stay away from big numbers,” said Oraee. “I keep things from getting away from me. The only big numbers I make are if something catastrophic happens like if I hit a ball out of bounds or do something goofy.”
Along with the place in the championship tournament, his remarkable season has made Oraee a finalist for CU’s Male Career Athletic Achievement Award and CU Athlete-of-the-Week two times. He twice received Pac-12 Golfer of the Month nominations.
Oraee is set to graduate in December of 2015 with a degree in Integrated Physiology. He has earned an Academic letter all four years of school.
After graduation Oraee plans to pursue a career as a surgeon. “I will apply to medical school after graduating and the application takes a year,” he said. “So while I’m waiting for that, I’m going to go pro and play golf for a year. Depending on how well I do, I’ll go to medical school or continue playing golf.”