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Waldorf’s Becerra ties for first in NSAA Championship

OXBOW, N.D. – Hugo Becerra led the Waldorf College men’s golf team, tying for first place in the fall portion of the North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) Championships.

“Hugo is playing great golf right now,” Waldorf coach Mark Clouse said. “He obviously showed up in a big way.”

Becerra carded a 6-over-par score of 150 strokes. The junior from Ocotlan, Mexico shot a 78 during the opening round and climbed to the top of the field, wrapping up the 36-hole tournament with an even-par 72 on Tuesday at the Oxbow Country Club.

The final two rounds of the tournament will be completed on April 25-26 in Lincoln, Neb. and the team and individual champion earns bids to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Tournament.

Becerra is currently in a three-way tie atop the leaderboard with Bellevue University’s Diego Gudino and Viterbo University’s Taylor Hanson.

“Being tied for first at the midway point through the conference tournament, he’s got a great opportunity to contend for an individual spot to go to the national tournament,” Clouse said. “I know he’ll have that on his mind. We have several months to prepare for it, but it’s a great spot to be in.”

The Warriors turned in a team score of 645 to place fourth in the seven-team tournament.

“As far as the team score goes, we dug ourselves a big hole, but we’re only halfway through,” Clouse said. “We have two more rounds to climb up the leaderboard.”

Waldorf freshman Kole Hallmark tied for 17th, shooting a 162 on back-to-back rounds of 81. Senior Rick Young placed 21st with a 165 behind rounds of 86 and 79. Freshman Zabdiel Flores took 24th with a 168-stroke total on rounds of 86 and 82 to provide the final team score for the Warriors. Waldorf senior Austin Heeren tied for 26th, turning in a 171 on rounds of 86 and 85.

Hallmark and Flores got their first conference tournament experience at the collegiate level, which should serve the Warriors well in the spring.

“Kole has been providing really consistent scores throughout the fall season,” Clouse said. “Zabdiel getting an opportunity to also compete in the conference tournament bodes well for the future.”

Bellevue won the fall portion of the tournament with 613 strokes, edging Viterbo (619) by six strokes. Valley City State University (632), Waldorf (645), the University of Jamestown (653), Dickinson State University (689) and Presentation College (722) completed the team standings.

The Warriors host two competitions this weekend at Forest City’s Bear Creek Golf Course. They face NCAA Division III’s Iowa Wesleyan University in a Ryder Cup-format match play event on Saturday at 12 p.m. and open the Waldorf Invitational on Sunday at 11 a.m.