LCSC men prepare for start of nationals
Despite winning the Frontier Conference title and playing well during the spring, the Lewis-Clark State College men’s golf team basically remained running in place in the NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 polls during the spring.
The Warriors started the year ranked No. 24 and stayed between No. 23 and No. 25 for the season until the final poll, when it reached a season-best No. 22.
Now the team wants to take advantage of the opportunity it has to show it should be up higher in the poll when the Warriors take part in the 58th annual NAIA Men's Golf National Championships on Tuesday through Friday at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill.
The course is long, but that may play into one of LCSC’s strengths. The par-71 TPC Deere Park course measures 7,213 yards and features 70 bunkers in a variety of depths and shapes.
The LCSC contingent will have a definite Boise feel to it as three of the five golfers coach Paul Thompson is sending to the tournament are from the Treasure Valley area. Senior Patrick Casabonne and junior Chris Mooney are from Boise, while sophomore Connor McCracken is from Eagle. Also heading to nationals are sophomores Ben House of Lewiston and Chris Kneen of the Isle of Man, British Isles.
The Warriors won the conference title by 57 strokes over Rocky Mountain and earned an automatic berth to the tournament, which will feature 32 teams. Twenty of the team received automatic berths while 11 received at-large berths. A host berth was also issued to St. Ambrose University of Iowa.
LCSC had three of the top five golfers in the conference standings. McCracken had a 1,090 score for the five conference tournaments, which was two shots better than runner-up Kneen. Mooney was fifth, while Casabonne took eighth.
Oklahoma Christian University, which has been ranked No. 1 in the poll since Feb. 27, and defending champion University of British Columbia are the favorites in the tournament.
LCSC is the only school from the West outside of California in the tournament. UBC, the University of Victoria and Johnson & Wales, all from Canada, also are in the field.