31 Iowa Conference titles
DESTIN, FLA.—Central College sliced six strokes off its first-round score to secure a spot in the top-15 and advance to the final 36 holes of the NCAA Division III men’s golf championships Wednesday.
After placing 18th Tuesday, the Dutch combined for 13 birdies to climb five spots in the 41-team field into a three-way tie for 13th. The field is cut to the top 15 teams and top six other individuals at the midpoint of the 72-hole tourney.
“We left ourselves right on the line and fortunately for us, we made the cut,” coach Chad Green said.
It’s the first time Central has advanced in the 15-team format. The Dutch reached the final rounds in a 23-team cut in 2010, when the squad tied for 17th. Central has 11 top-10 NCAA finishes. The last was a tie for ninth in 2004.
The Dutch fired a 300 on the par-72 Ravens golf course at the Sandestin Golf and Beach resort after carding a 306 Tuesday on the Links course. The Dutch are tied at 606 with Wittenberg (Ohio) and Greensboro (N.C.).
Transylvania (Ky.) and Texas-Tyler took over the team standings and hold a 6-stroke lead. Transylvania is at 288-291—579 with Texas-Tyler at 293-286—579. First-round leader Methodist (N.C.) is third (290-295—585). Cameron Button of Southwestern (Texas) headlines the medalist race at 70-67—137. Cheyne Kendall of Schreiner (Texas) is second at 73-67—140.
Central’s Justin Livingston (senior, Winterset) turned in an even-par 72 and is tied for 30th at 77-72—149.
“Justin had it to 3-under at one point, but gave up a couple shots on the back,” Green said. “Still, even par is a good score at the national meet.”
Jared Nepomuceno (freshman, Corona, Calif., Santiago HS) shot 77-75—152 and is tied for 49th with David Watson (sophomore, San Diego, Calif., Patrick Henry HS), who shot 73-79—152.
“I was proud of Jared’s mental game today,” Green said. “He played the first nine well and made the turn 1-under, but then went to 5-over in three holes. He played 1-under after that and showed maturity in his game as a freshman to post a 75, which was a score we needed.”
Desmond Stoll (sophomore, Lockport, N.Y.) is tied for 83rd at 79-76—155 while Adam Squires (sophomore, Waterloo, Columbus HS) is tied for 89th at 79-77—156.
The final two rounds will be played on the Raven course. While the tournament is far from stress-free, a weight has been lifted after making the cut.
“We know we’re guaranteed two more rounds and we can just go out and see what we’re made of,” Green said.
Keeping big numbers off the scorecard will be key to Central’s success.
“Last year the big numbers got us and we had to count some 80s,” Green said. “If we can keep them off the scorecard and continue to hit the ball and putt like we have been we’ll definitely improve.”