GREENSBORO, N.C. – All good things must come to an end, and the Linfield golfers met their season end Wednesday in the second round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Golf Championship hosted by the Grandover Resort.
The team had a lot of ground to make up after a 25th-place showing on the first day of the tournament. Only the top 15 clubs would make the initial cut, plus the next five highest individuals not associated with a top-15 team.
Unfortunately, neither the Linfield squad nor any individual Wildcat scored low enough to advance. The team finished in 30th place of 40 teams with a total combined score of 307-315=622.
“It just didn’t go our way today,” said head coach Greg Copeland. “We’re disappointed that we didn’t make the cut because we know we had the ability to.”
Alex Fitch and A.J. Taylor (Jr., Kirkland, Wash.) posted the lowest scores of the day for Linfield, each carding a four-over-par 76. Fitch finished with a two-day score of 74-76=150 to tie for 65th place out of 205 competitors. Taylor, the only Wildcat to play better on the second day, shaved three strokes off his first-round score to end up with a final total of 79-76=155 (t-108th).
Still battling flu-like symptoms, Yutaro Sakamoto ended his collegiate career carding an eight-over-par 80 to finish with a cumulative score of 79-80=159 (t-145).
“We had some good performances overall,” Copeland said. “Guys competed hard and didn’t give up.”
The ‘Cats played the east course on the second day, which Copeland said was longer and posed much greater danger than the previous day’s course.
Josh Kay found that out the hard way. He ran into trouble on an unlucky 13th hole, taking 12 strokes to make a par-5. He had played well up to that point, just two strokes above par for the course. But the blunder was reflected in his second-round score of 11-over-par 83, contributing to a two-day total of 73-83=158 (t-135th).
Linfield’s fifth competitor, Tommy Schmitz (Jr., Gresham, Ore.), carded a 16-over-par 88 to finish with a final score of 84-88=172 (t-198th).
Chris Morris of Centre College ended up with the lowest individual total. Sitting in second place after the first round, he carded a seven-under-par 65 on the second day to finish with an incredible cumulative score of 67-65=132, four strokes better than the runner-up.
St. John's (Minn.) was the top team, carding a collective score of 286-291=577.
“It’s been a good experience,” Copeland said of Linfield’s national tournament run. “We’ll get back and just have that much more experience.”
Betters first-round score by three strokes
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