30 Iowa Conference titles
GREENSBORO, N.C.—Slicing 14 shots off its first-round score, the Central College men’s golf team made a frantic bid for a spot in the final two rounds of the NCAA Division III championships, but missed the cut Wednesday.
After struggling to 312 on the 6,800-yard Grandover Resort and Conference Center West Course, the Dutch fired 298 on the par-72, 7,045-yard East Course. It was the eighth-best round turned in by the 40-team field.
That vaulted Central from 32nd to 23rd at 312-298—610, 10 shots away from the top 15 and a berth for Thursday’s and Friday’s final rounds.
“We didn’t give up,” coach Chad Green said. “We just had too big of a hole after the first day, but I’m real proud of how the team finished. We put up a real solid number on a longer course.”
Brent Messmore (junior, Hudson) carded a 73 and finished at 78-73—151. Justin Livingston (sophomore, Winterset) closed at 79-75—154, Jason Harvey (senior, Goldfield, Clarion-Goldfield HS) had 80-75—155, Drew Osier (sophomore, Austin, Minn.) had 75-82—157 and Alex Huyser (senior, Sully, Lynnville-Sully HS) shot 83-75—158.
The Dutch were 2-under-par after the front nine before settling for a 10-over-par finish for the day.
“We had a really good front nine,” Green said. “We kind of struggled on the last three holes. We knew we had to be around even par today to make the cut, so we went for broke and shot at all the pins. That hurt us a couple of times but it also got us a lot of birdies.”
St. John’s (Minn.) is the leader at the tournament midpoint with 286-291—577 with Greensboro (N.C.) next at 291-289—580. Transylvania (Pa.), La Verne (Calif.) and Millikin (Ill.) tied for 14th at 600. La Verne and Millikin won a playoff for the final two team positions.
Iowa Conference champion Central was making its 29th NCAA tournament appearance since 1975, and its first with Green.
“I’m happy with our season,” Green said. “We had a lot of success. One bad round doesn’t make or break a season. I’m happy with the way we finished.”
Central loses Harvey and Huyser to graduation. Harvey earned Iowa Conference MVP honors while Huyser also had a surprising senior season, gaining a lineup spot for the first time and emerging as a steady performer.
While replacing their leadership is a challenge, Green said, the Dutch return Messmore, Livingston and Osier, as well as Brent Goodenow (junior, Johnston), who competed in last year’s NCAA tournament for the Dutch.
“We’ll have four people on the team with national tournament experience,” Green said. “There’s no way you can simulate that. We’ve also got some other guys on the team who will make a run for varsity spots and we’ve got some players coming in who will make a run.
“I look forward to having another deep team and getting back here next year.”