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Warriors finish ninth in Graceland Invitational

waldorf-warriors-outline_1By Aaron Schneider

MARYVILLE, Mo. – The Waldorf University men’s golf team turned in a 36-hole team score of 653 strokes to open the spring season with a ninth-place finish in the Graceland Invitational, which concluded on Saturday.

Beginning the tournament on Friday, the Warriors tallied a 330-stroke total to start 11th in the team standings. Waldorf delivered a team score of 323 during a cold and rainy second day of action and jumped two spots, passing Baker University and Haskell Indian Nations University.

“We came out in the first round with pretty nice conditions and didn’t play very well,” Waldorf coach Mark Clouse said. “Day 2, when the conditions were much more difficult, we came back with much better scores so that was good to see.”

The Warriors were paced by junior Thomas O’Rourke, who tied for 24th place with a 159. The Forest City native shot rounds of 77 and 82 on the par-72 layout at Mozingo Lake Golf Course.

“That’s good to see him playing really well during spring break and now early in the season,” Clouse said.

Waldorf freshman Kole Hallmark claimed a share of 39th place with a 164-stroke total on rounds of 83 and 81. Junior Hugo Becerra and senior Austin Heeran tied for 42nd as each carded a score of 165 after posting round scores of 85 and 80.

Freshman Zabdiel Flores competed for the Warriors as an individual and tied for 50th, finishing with a score of 166 behind rounds of 80 and 86. Waldorf senior Rick Young also competed as an individual and placed 60th with a 170, putting together rounds of 92 and 78. Senior Nick Boswell placed 76th after shooting a 188 on rounds of 98 and 90. Junior Chad Hein played as an individual and finished 77th, recording a 189-stroke total behind rounds of 91 and 98.

Lindenwood University-Belleville captured a nine-stroke victory, closing out the contest with a 607 team score. The Lynx are receiving votes in the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) poll.

Graceland University (616) beat out NCAA Division III’s Central College (617) for second place by one stroke.

Lindenwood-Belleville’s B Team (618) took home fourth, William Penn University (612) secured fifth and Central’s White Team (636) came in sixth.

Des Moines Area Community College (641), ranked No. 12 in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II poll, placed seventh to finish ahead of Kansas City Kansas Community College (644), Waldorf (653), Ottawa University (655), Baker (663), Haskell (667), Southwestern Community College (676) and Graceland’s B Team (695).

“The rebound from Day 1 to Day 2, overall as a whole, is what we’re definitely taking away from this event,” Clouse said. “Now that we have our first tournament completed, I think we’re going to be better prepared mentally for the rest of the season.”

Lindenwood-Belleville’s Erik Jonasson and Anthony Slater tied for first place with 150-stroke performances. Jonasson fired rounds of 74 and 76 while Slater shot back-to-back rounds of 75.

The Warriors return to action next Sunday when they battle NCAA Division III’s Iowa Wesleyan University for the Purple Cup at Fort Madison. The match-play event begins at 11:30 a.m. Waldorf will also compete in the Iowa Wesleyan Invitational on April 4 at Fort Madison, starting at 9 a.m.

“We’re looking forward to both of those events,” Clouse said. “We’ve had good success with it and it’ll be a great way to continue with the spring season by getting some more competitive rounds in. It’ll be good for everybody.”