SALEM, Ore. – After putting itself in a major hole in the opening round, the Lewis-Clark State College men’s golf team made up some of the ground but not enough and did not make the cut for the final round at the Men’s Golf National Championship at Creekside Golf Club Thursday. The Warriors’ season ends with a 19th-place finish at nationals.
LCSC shot a 309 over 18 holes on Thursday and finished with a 54-hole total of 929, but this was 13 strokes off the pace needed to climbed to 17th and qualify for the final round on Friday.
“Just really miserable conditions today for one, and the penalty strokes got us again as well,” LCSC head coach Paul Thompson said. “We played pretty good the first nine and then the conditions just got to them.”
The Warriors fared well in the rain on Wednesday, but Thursday’s precipitation coupled with the burden of trying to fight their way back into contention seemed too much to bear.
“When you’re that far down you kind of try a little bit harder. You take a few more chances.”
LCSC, which was making its fifth appearance at nationals, shot a 316 and was in 24th place out of 28 teams on Tuesday. The team then rebounded with a 304 on Wednesday and moved to 21st.
Jason Molner, a senior from Longview, Wash., turned in the team’s best round on Thursday with a 74, and finishes tied for 56th in the individual standings at 228. A finish in the top 40 would have allowed him to compete on Friday as an individual.
Drew Reinland had a 77 (T-82nd, 232), Rylee Iacolucci a 78 (T-86th, 233), James Rooney an 80 (T-114th, 238), and Joel Christiansen carded an 89 (T-137th, 247).
Though he expressed disappointed with how the tournament went, Thompson, whose team finished fifth at nationals in 2011, said it was a good year overall for his program.
“I’m real satisfied with the year. To go to nationals is always a plus for the program, and you have to consider that it’s the top 25 teams in the country you’re playing against. So to finish around 19th really isn’t bad.”
Along with Molner, the only other senior graduating from this year’s squad will be Rooney, a product of Glasgow, Scotland. Thompson said the two will be missed, but that he has already signed four new players for next year who will help fill the void and keep the team competitive in both the Frontier Conference and the nation.