PINE MOUNTAIN, Ga. – Ignoring the coldest day of Georgia’s winter, the Linfield Wildcats are among the contenders after the first round of the prestigious Callaway Gardens Intercollegiate, hosted by Berry College.
Sparked by a two-over-par 74 from freshman Adam Ruben (Fr., Lake Oswego, Ore.), the Wildcats totaled 310 to share fourth place among 19 competing teams. Linfield’s score matched that of 2011 NCAA Division III champion Greensboro College. Reigning national champion Oglethorpe University leads the tournament with a 292, 10 strokes in front of challenger La Grange College.
Rhodes College sits at 309, one stroke better than Linfield and Greensboro.
Conditions Saturday were far from ideal for golf, with spitting snow and a 20-degree wind chill. Yet Linfield players appeared undaunted by the harsh weather, said Wildcats coach Greg Copeland.
“We’re used to playing in poor conditions and we didn’t let the weather get to us,” he said. “I think the other teams did let it bother them.”
Ruben, a spring transfer from the College of the Desert who was making his collegiate debut, carded a two-over 74 to share seventh place with Greensboro’s Greg Pappas.
Linfield’s Taylor Klopp (Soph., Eugene, Ore.) shot a 78 to grab a share of 25th place. Ryan Nolan (Soph., Tigard, Ore.) and Taylor Pirnke (Soph., Mill Creek, Wash.) were one stroke back at 79, each sharing 35th place. The Wildcats' Logan Munson (Soph., Wilsonville, Ore.) shot an 84, good for a portion of 84th place.
“Our guys were solid everywhere but not exceptional anywhere,” said Copeland. “They stayed out of trouble and didn’t take many penalty strokes.”
Oglethorpe’s Anthony Maccaglia, who won the men’s Division III individual championship as a freshman last spring, tops the tournament leaderboard by two strokes. The top-ranked player in Division III shot a four-under 68 on Callaway’s 7,032-yard course.
Second-round action commences Sunday morning.
‘CAT SCRATCH: The Wildcats were one of only three tournament teams to have four players post scores in the 70s. . . Linfield’s Ruben, from Lake Oswego High School, birdied his first collegiate hole . . . Linfield players were the talk of the tournament when they arrived at Friday’s chilly practice round wearing shorts. . . the Wildcats played Saturday’s round side-by-side with Oglethorpe and Averitt . . . Sunday’s matchups have Linfield sharing tees and greens with Greensboro and Huntingdon. . . the ‘Cats traveled 2,700 miles for the opportunity to match skills with the best teams and players Division III has to offer. . . the temperature Saturday did not exceed 35 degrees.
"We didn't let the weather get to us"
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