LCSC golf teams finish second at FC tourney
MISSOULA, Mont. – The Lewis-Clark State College men’s and women’s golf teams came up short in their bids to earn automatic berths to the NAIA national golf tournaments by losing to Rocky Mountain in the Frontier Conference title matches on Tuesday at Larchmont Golf Course.
Playing head-to-head in the 36-hole championship match, RMC shot a men’s team score of 563 to 570 for LCSC. The Bears held a five-shot lead after the opening 18 holes and didn’t allow LCSC to come back.
On the women’s side, Rocky Mountain used a solid opening round of 294to take control of its match against LCSC early and go on to claim a 602-634 victory.
The team champions both qualify for the NAIA national tournaments. The men’s tournament will run May 18-21 at TPC at Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., while the women’s tournament is a week later on May 25-28 at Meadowbrook Municipal Golf Course in Rapid City, S.D.
The Warrior women are ranked No. 20 in the NAIA and have an outside shot at capturing one of up to eight at-large berths to the tournament. The at-large berths go to the highest ranked teams who did not automatically qualify for nationals.
No matter what, both Warrior teams will be represented at nationals because each team had the Conference’s Player of the Year. Both junior Connor McCracken and senior Cortney Shrout won the titles for the second straight year and qualified for each tournament as an individual player.
Tuesday’s play brought an end to a new format used this year to crown the postseason champion. Instead of having all teams play together in a tournament like they do in the regular season, the conference went to a single-elimination bracket, similar to basketball, where the No. 1 team played the No. 8 team in the opening round. The four winners then advanced to the semifinals with the two emerging from the semis advancing to Tuesday’s championship match over 36 holes. The first two rounds were 18 holes.
LCSC was the No. 2 seed in both the men’s and women’s tournament, while Rocky Mountain was the top seed.
Rocky Mountain fired a 284 to LCSC’s opening round of 289 on the men’s side and then beat the Warriors by two shots over the second 18. The Warrior women were 25 shots down after the opening 18, but lost the second 18 by only seven strokes.
McCracken led the Warrior men with consecutive rounds of 3-under-par 69. Shroud led the women rounds of 75 and 79 for a 154 total, two shots ahead of freshman Heather Bruce.
Pairings for the national tournament will be announced next week.
Rocky Mountain 284-279–563, LCSC 289-281–570
LCSC – Connor McCracken 69-69-138, Kyler Nilsson 73-69–144, Ben House 74-71-145, Scott Mooney 73-75-148, Chris Jarrett 81-72–153.
Rocky Mountain 294-308–602, LCSC 319-315–634.
LCSC – Cortney Shrout 75-79–154, Heather Bruce 80-76–156, Alana Norris 82-76–158, Sue James 82-84–166, Kelsey Haycock 82-86–168.