By Jim Riggs
CHAUTAUQUA - The defending champion of the NJCAA Division III National Golf Tournament is in the lead after the opening round on the Lake Course at Chautauqua Golf Club on Tuesday.
Kody Klinginsmith of Jamestown Community College hits his second shot to the first green during the opening round of the NJCAA Division III National Golf Tournament at Chautauqua Golf Club. The Chautauqua Central School graduate led the Jayhawks with a 78. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
But just barely.
The Monroe Community College Tribunes from Rochester won the title by 30 shots last year, but when first round was completed this year they are in front by one shot after recording a 304. And the team a stroke behind was the back-to-back champion in 2007 and 2008, Nassau CC from Garden City, N.Y.
''I like being up 30 better,'' Monroe coach John Graham said with a laugh. ''At least as far as my stress level goes.''
In third place with a 311 is Cincinnati State Technical Community College while Rock Valley College from Rockford, Ill., which won back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002, is fourth with 312.
Erie CC, a Region 3 team like Monroe and host Jamestown CC, is fifth at 317.
The Jayhawks are 10th in the 13-team field with a 331.
The top two teams, who have won the title for the past three years, also found their players competing in the same threesomes, which pleased both coaches.
''It was kind of nice to get an early look at who might be there around the end,'' Monroe coach John Graham said. ''You never know over the next couple days, but it's always nice to play with people that you think you are probably going to run into later on to just kind of see what you're up against.''
Nassau coach Larry DellAquilla said.''We played with them head-to-head, which was nice. I told the kids that's a good thing.''
Leading the way for Monroe was Ben Finn with an even-par 72, which was the second-lowest score of the day. Tyler Phillips had a 74, Matt DeJohn a 78 and Eric Principino and 80. Tim McCall's 82 was thrown out.
''The guys were pretty happy with the way things turned out,'' Graham said. ''The two guys that shot in the 80s kind of played poorly early and kind of held on to it. So they both came off the course feeling pretty good. They were able to save a score and get something in.''
In contrast, Graham said, ''Matt (DeJohn), who had a 78, was four over on the last four holes, so he was pretty upset coming off the course.''
Nassau's four scores were all in the 70s with Mike Midgette leading a 74. Ray Weinmann had a 75, Joe Arnold a 77 and Joe Ennis a 79. Edgar Sanchez's 92 was tossed.
See NJCAA, Page B-2
''I'm very, very happy with the way we played today,'' DellAquilla said. ''We came back. My second guy, Joe Arnold, he shot 41 on the front side, but he kept it together and he shot 36 on the back.''
His team is only one shot behind the defending champions, but DellAquilla said, ''I think Monroe is still the team to beat, there's no doubt in my mind. Also, I think Rock Valley is very solid.''
For host JCC, freshman Kody Klinginsmith was the leader with a 6-over 78. Marcus Stephens had an 82, Charles Fitzpatrick an 83 and Mike Swanson an 88. Ben Abbate's 90 was tossed out.
''I struck the ball a lot better than a 78,'' Klinginsmith said. ''I need to be a little more patient. I was slower going up to my ball, but I rushed my shots.''
So what could his 78 have been?
''Six to eight shots were left out there,'' said Klinginsmith, who has played at Chautauqua for 11 years.
He shot a 4-over 39 on the front nine and a 2-over 39 on the back.
Klinginsmith bogeyed the par-5 third hole, but erased it when he sunk a 12-foot, downhill putt for a birdie at the par-3 sixth.
''Somehow I made it,'' Klinginsmith said. ''I closed my eyes.''
At the par-3 eighth, his tee shot landed to the left in some dirt. From there he hit into a trap and ended up with a double bogey. Then he bogeyed No. 9 when he left his second shot short to the left.
At the par-5 10th, Klinginsmith rebounded with an up-and-down par.
''It was a great par,'' he said. ''What hurt me was off the tee trying to make a birdie.''
His tee shot ended up catching the tops of some trees.
Klinginsmith bogeyed the par-4 11th when he missed a 4-footer straight uphill.
''That was the worst putt I had all day,'' Klinginsmith said.
Then he three-putted Nos. 12 and 15 for bogeys, but he made up for one at the par-5 16th.
''I hit in a tight wedge,'' he said about his shot that landed 2 feet from the cup.
He finished with a bogey 5 at 18 ''after a great par at 17.''
Klinginsmith noted his round took nearly 5 hours.
''We got stuck at the turn,'' he said.
JCC coach Bill Burk Explained ''That's Day One for you. A ball gets lost here and there and someone has to take the walk back the tee. The greens were in great shape and tricky and fast. Kids were getting very careful on those greens. You don't want to look foolish over a 3-footer.''
Overall, the first round was acceptable for Burk.
''(Assistant) Coach (Ben) Lindquist and I talked about a 320 today,'' Burk said. ''I thought that would be a very good score for us because I knew the nerves were going to play a big factor. They just want to do so well for the community and a couple of them (Klinginsmith and Abbate) work up here (at Chautauqua Golf Club), so they know there are a lot of eyes on them. So they want to do well and I thought 320 would be pretty good and we didn't get there.''
About Stephens' 82, Burk said, ''He hated it, I didn't mind it. I thought it set him OK. I remember the year Andy Frank was an All-American, he led off with an 82 and then he shot some really good numbers and worked his way back down. So that's kind of what Marcus will have to do.''
He added, ''Chuck's 83 is what Chuck's been doing his whole career. He shoots 83, 84, maybe an 80.''
It was Abbate's score that baffled Burk.
''The surprise is Ben, who really put a lot of pressure on himself with that 90,'' Burk said. ''That's not Ben's score. That's a round and a half for him.''
He added, ''A kid like him is just dying to do well for his family and his friends and I said, 'You go out and play for yourself and try to enjoy it. You're not enjoying it and this is something you have to try to treasure instead of beating yourself up.''
The leading score of the day was a 2-under 70 by Chris Ferraro of SUNY Ulster.
Today's play resumes at 9 a.m. and JCC will be starting at No. 10. Swanson first off at 9:40 a.m. followed by Fitzpatrick at 9:48, Klinginsmith at 9:56, Abbate at 10:04 and Stephens at 10:12.
Rain is predicted all day, which could slow things down.
''We'll be battling it all day,'' Burk said. ''I picture it being an all-day round.''
Cincinnati State Technical and CC311
Rock Valley College 312
Erie CC 317
Rochester Technical and CC 321
George Military Academy 322
Burlington County College 324
Jamestown CC 331
Ocean County College 332
Anne Arundel CC 335
CC of Rhode Island 349
TOP 15 INDIVIDUALS
Chris Ferraro, SUNY Ulster 70
Ben Finn Monroe CC 72
Andrew Steinhofer, Madison College 73
Brian Warken Cincinnati TCC73
Jeff Scahller, SUNY Ulster 74
Mike Midgette Nassau CC 74
Tyler Phillips, Monroe CC 74
Ryan May, Cayuga CC 75
Blake Harpenau, Cincinnati TCC75
Rich Talbot Burlington County College 75
Stephen Amerson, Georgia Military Coll.75
Ray Weinmann Nassau CC 75
C. Kennedy, Montgomery County College76
Drew Dufner, Central Lakes College 76
Chris Horne, Sandhills CC 76
Tylor Woodward, Jefferson CC 76
Bryce Davis, Rock Valley College 76
Tyler Coates Sandhills CC 76
Andrew Canfield, Rock Valley College 76