31 Iowa Conference titles
CEDAR RAPIDS—Turning in five scores of 76 or better, the Central College men’s golf team stretched its lead to 27 shots after three rounds of the Iowa Conference tournament Saturday.
The Dutch, winners of 30 league titles including the past four, posted a 291 for a 54-hole total of 327-299-291—917. Central picked up 14 strokes on second-place Luther College at 329-310-305—944. The University of Dubuque is third at 337-308-302—947.
“Our short game was the difference today,” coach Chad Green said. “We chipped and putted well and played solid 1-5. It’s usually a pretty good day if you have to throw out a 76.”
After sharing the medalist lead at the tourney’s midway point, senior Justin Livingston (Winterset) slipped to second place, carding a 3-over-par 73 on the Elmcrest Country Club in Cedar Rapids with 80-73-72—25. Luther’s Andrew Peter is one-shot ahead at 80-73-72—225. Central sophomore Desmond Stoll ( Lockport, N.Y.) fired a 71 to inch up to third place at 82-75-71—228.
“Justin had a rough stretch on the front nine and bogeyed four in a row but came back with a 34 on the final nine,” coach Chad Green said. “Desmond played well all the way around, turning in a 37 and then a 34.”
Sophomore David Watson (San Diego, Calif., Patrick Henry HS) is sixth at 81-76-75—232 while freshman Jared Nepomuceno (Corona, Calif., Santiago HS) is ninth at 82-77-76—235. Sophomore Adam Squires (Waterloo, Columbus HS) carded 72, replacing sophomore Jon Prescott (Mendota, Ill.) for the final rounds of the tourney.
Heavy rains throughout the week left the course soggy.
“It was very, very wet and the course played tougher than it normally would,” Green said. “We also had a rain delay today with the final group, but I’m happy with how our guys handled it.”
The final begins teeing off at 10:10 a.m. Sunday. Because of Elmcrest not available for play, the tourney returns to the par-72 Finkbine Golf Course at Iowa City, where the first two rounds were staged.
“Finkbine is a tough track, there’s no doubt about it,” Green said. “But we played well the last time we were on it and we know what we’re getting ourselves into.”
Sundays’ winner receives the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament May 14-17 at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, Fla. Central has made 31 appearances. But the Dutch won’t be easing off the accelerator.
“We haven’t done anything yet,” Green said. “Our goal is to play wire-to-wire and post the low score each day. We have to go out tomorrow and play like we have the last three rounds.”