Eagles golf takes third in rain-shortened Heartland Conference

Sports Editorial

 

Pouring rain and a flooded golf course shortened the Eagles’ Heartland Conference tournament, but didn’t stop them from claiming third place overall with two top-10 individual finishers.

Despite the third place finish, Head Coach David Lynn said the team could have competed at a higher standard.

“Our performance in the conference tournament was frustrating,” Lynn said. “We didn’t play well, in fact it was one of our poorest outings of the season. I’m not sure if the weather effected us or what, but that is certainly no excuse. We just didn’t get it done.”

As storms halted play on Sunday and Monday at Apple Rock Golf Course, tournament officials decided to change the format to a 36-hole instead of a 54-hole tournament. After a full first round ending on Monday, the Eagles finished in fourth place with a team score of 306.

Through multiple delays on Monday, Alejandro Valenzuela led the Eagles on the wet, 6,968-yard course, with a one-under-par 71, placing third just two shots behind the leader, Andrew Spear of St. Edward’s University.

Sam Johnston shot a 75 to place him 10th, while Zac Schaefer was just two shots behind Johnston with a 77, to put him at 14th. Freshmen Juan Pallach and Manuel Hernandez rounded out the scoring for the Eagles with an 83 and 88, respectively, to place Pallach 38th and Hernandez 47th.

With one round left on Tuesday the team rallied together, jumping up to finish in third place in the tournament.

Johnston moved up to sixth and ended up tied with Valenzuela. Johnston fired an even-par 72, while Valenzuela carded a 76. Schaefer jumped up to 12th after also posting a final-round 72. Johnston, Valenzuela and Schaefer all recorded three birdies in the final round to aid the Eagles’ scoring.

Highlighted by two birdies, Pallach improved by eight strokes from the first day to shoot a 75 and finished tied for 32nd. Hernandez did not record a final score on Tuesday and the team finished in third place with an overall score of 601.

“We started the year with eight new guys, seven freshmen and one sophomore,”Lynn said “It took the fall semester for us to adjust but we steadily got better every week this spring. As a coach, that is extremely satisfying to see guys work hard and be recognized for that achievement.”

The Eagles will wait to hear the NCAA Division II South-Central Regional Championship qualifiers announced on Friday for the May 2-4 tournament in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Statistics provided by the Oklahoma Christian University Sports Information office.

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