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Waldorf ties for fourth place in Wartburg Invitational

Waldorf Warriors LogoBy Matt Oliver

WAVERLY – The Waldorf University men’s golf team tied for fourth place with a 311-stroke total during Saturday’s Wartburg Invitational.

Rick Young led the Warriors as the senior from Garner tied for sixth with an 18-hole score of 74 on the par-72 layout at Prairie Links Golf Club. Junior Hugo Becerra also turned in a solid performance as he tied for ninth, firing a 75.

“They both had really nice days,” Waldorf coach Mark Clouse said.

Chilly temperatures and strong winds made for a less than ideal day on the links. However, the Warrior duo and their teammates didn’t let it stifle their efforts.

“It was a difficult day not only with the cold, but it was also windy,” Clouse said. “It was a good chance to see where their ball-striking is at right now. In those types of conditions, you can see pretty quickly if you’re hitting the ball solidly, and they definitely had control. It showed in their results, and that’s really good to see.”

Waldorf freshman Zabdiel Flores and junior Thomas O’Rourke tied for 22nd as they each carded 80-stroke rounds. Senior Nick Boswell competed as an individual and tied for 26th with an 81.

Freshman Kole Hallmark and senior Austin Heeren tied for 28th, putting together 82-stroke totals for the Warriors. Waldorf junior Chad Hein tied for 30th with an 83 while competing as an individual.

It was a fairly consistent tournament for the Warriors. Their top two individual performances were separated by a stroke, while the rest of the team’s players were only three strokes apart.

“We’re doing a really nice job with a lot of aspects of the game right now,” Clouse said. “If we can sink a few more putts and get up and down a couple more times, we’ll be right there. We’re very competitive, and that’s good to see.”

NCAA Division III’s Wartburg College won the team championship with 295 strokes to edge Kirkwood Community College (298) by three strokes. Kirkwood is ranked No. 4 in the latest National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II poll.

The University of Wisconsin-Stout (309) took third to place ahead of fellow NCAA Division III member Simpson College (311), Waldorf (311), Wartburg Orange (355), NCAA Division III’s Coe College (340) and NCAA Division III’s Buena Vista University (342).

From one tournament to the next, Waldorf hasn’t seen a lot of the same opponents during the spring campaign. It helps the Warriors gauge where they stack up as they work toward the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) Championships later this month.

“We like to see a variety of teams throughout the season just to give a different flavor of competition,” Clouse said. “I think it’s good to measure yourself against several different schools instead of seeing the same competition regularly. It’s been a nice mix of schools to compete against.”

Wartburg’s Michael Canfield captured the individual title with a 2-under score of 70 to best Kirkwood’s Jordan Even, Louis Flynn, Carson Whittington and Kirkwood teammate Tanner Randall by three strokes.

With the NSAA Championships scheduled for April 24-26 at Lincoln, Nebraska, Waldorf has just two tournaments remaining before the postseason.

“We only have a couple weeks until the conference tournament, so we’re trending in the right direction,” Clouse said.

The Warriors return to action in the Iowa Lakes Invitational, which begins next Sunday at Panora at 9 a.m. The two-day tournament will be held at Lake Panorama National Golf Course.

“It’s a nice venue that will allow us to compete and keep honing our skills leading up to the conference tournament,” Clouse said. “We just want to make sure that we peak at the right time.”