PINE MOUNTAIN, Ga. – Seeing their first-round score droop by 21 strokes, the Linfield Wildcats fell from a fourth-place tie into 12th place after the Sunday’s final round of the Callaway Gardens Intercollegiate, a 19-team tournament contested at Mountainview Golf Club.
“It’s hard to believe the golf gods can turn on a team like that,” quipped Wildcats coach Greg Copeland. “Our guys didn’t putt very well and didn’t hit the ball well at times. We found ourselves in trouble and it cost us a lot of strokes.”
Linfield freshman Adam Ruben, who got a hot start at the tournament by carding a stellar 74 on Saturday, struggled to an 82 and finished at 12-over-par 156 to share 23rd place.
Ryan Nolan was perhaps Linfield’s most effective golfer of the tournament, turning in scores of 79 and 81 to end up tied for 38th with a two-day total of 160. Fellow Wildcat Taylor Klopp (Sr., Eugene, Ore.) was one stroke back at 161, shooting 78-83-161.
Taylor Pirnke (Sr., Mill Creek, Wash.) experienced his share of ups and downs on Sunday, going from 79 on Saturday to a bloated score of 89. Logan Munson (Sr., Wilsonville, Ore.) shot 84-85-169 to round out the Linfield scoring.
“They didn’t give up but kept grinding away,” said Copeland. “If you look at most of the scores from the second round, nearly every team scored worse (on Sunday). We just scored a lot worse.”
With four players finishing among the top-10 golfers, defending NCAA Division III champion Ogelthorpe won the event by a whopping 20 strokes over runner-up Methodist, 591-611. La Grange was third with a 620 followed by Emory at 625.
Ogelthorpe sophomore Anthony Maccaglia shot a 145 total, including a 77 on the Mountainview course on Sunday. But his glossy round of 68 on Saturday was sufficient to carry him to a one-stroke victory over teammate Eric Quinn.
Though their rounds were inconsistent, the lesson the Wildcats will bring home is knowing they are capable of competing – at least for one day – with the top programs in Division III.
“The purpose of coming to a tournament like this one is to show our guys that the elite programs are really not that much better than our team. Overall, the top teams seem to be better putters. They just don’t seem to miss.”
COMING UP: Linfield is scheduled to compete in the two-day Pacific Invitational, Saturday and Sunday at The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club in Aloha.