CHAUTAUQUA - The host Jamestown Community College Jayhawks led every round of the NJCAA Division III National Golf Championships except one.
Unfortunately that one was the final round on Friday on the Lake Course at Chautauqua Golf Club.
After leading by six shots following the first round, JCC held a slim one-shot lead over Vincennes University from Vincennes, Ind., following Wednesday's second round. And it remained that way after Thursday's third round was washed out and the tournament became a 54-hole event for the fourth time.
With help from behind by Jamestown Community College coach Brett Mucheck, Andrew Bird studies his birdie putt on the third hole in the final round of the NJCAA Division III National Golf Championships at Chautauqua Golf Club. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
On Friday, the Jayhawks slipped with a 309 for a 915 total and third place. Vincennes shot a 303 team total for a 910 to move into first place while Sandhills CC from Pinehurst, N.C., shot the best round of the day, a 298, for a 914 to vault into second place.
Defending champion Minnesota State Community and Technical College from Fergus Falls, Minn., was fourth with 916.
Last year host JCC was happy to finish second, but this year the Jayhawks were looking for more.
''That's where it hurts a little bit, it was only five shots,'' Mucheck said about his team missing out on the title. ''But it was a good tournament, we had so much fun. I just wish for them they could have finished with what they wanted (a title). I know they wanted this so bad that I wished we could have repeated last year (a second-place finish) and got the extra shot (to tie for second).''
Then he added, ''Even if one guy comes in a shot better then we're tied for first. Just one shot, but you start playing that game...''
He pointed out, ''We got third place after so many years of not doing well here; I'm happy.''
And so is Vincennes, which made its fourth trip to the nationals and its previous-best finish was third.
''I felt like we were in the top five and felt if we played well we'd be in the top three,'' said coach Dennis Chattin. ''And once you're in the top three then it's anybody's game and you play well at the right time and you can get the job done,''
His team was in second place after each of the previous two rounds and that was fine.
''I think it keeps you focused by not having the lead,'' Chattin said. ''We just said we need to be consistent and solid and that's the way we felt from the beginning. We'll shoot the best we can. There's no defense in golf. You just put it on the board and hopefully it's good enough.''
The tables began to turn halfway through the final round.
''At the end of nine holes I think we felt good, but with nine holes of golf left any one hole, birdie, double-bogey, and the next thing you know the tide turns in a hurry,'' Chattin said. ''But I felt like the guys felt confident at the end of nine holes and stayed focused. No one was down or overly excited as well. That's kind of the position we wanted to be in.''
JCC coach Brett Mucheck said, ''Through nine I still felt pretty good. I didn't really talk to them much until we were at 15 and they were kind of letting me know a little bit more of where they were and what was going on and that's when I knew it was going to be really, really tight.''
was a point out there where we got ahead of ourselves a little bit. I was trying to get them to think about playing the golf course and they were so worried about what their guys (from Vincennes and Minnesota State in their threesomes) we're doing that they were like comparing their shots. Vincennes was playing so well I think they thought, 'We're out of this.' And I kept saying, 'No, were not.'''
And the Jayhawks weren't until the final holes.
''Vincennes played lights out, so you can't be upset about that,'' Mucheck said.
Vincennes was also consistent. Jackson Cowden led the national champions with a 3-over-par 75 while Tyler Sloan, Trevor Gran and Ryan Reedy all had 76s.
An 80 by Shelby Stewart was thrown out. However, he had the shot of the day with a hole-in-one at No. 8.
For second-place Sandhills, Nick Thompson shot a 1-under 71 followed by Alex Meade 74, Greg Edwards 75 and Colin Jameson 78. Karl Reamer's 83 was thrown out.
Drew Chaddock and Jake Yartz each had 76s for JCC while Brenton Wilcox finished with a 78 and Jordy Farnham had a 79.
An 80 by Andrew Bird was thrown out.
Chaddock finished with a 223 total for 54 holes and earned first-team All-American honors.
He finished the front nine at 10-over 36 and then moved to even par with a birdie at No. 10. But he bogeyed 11 and 12, got one back with a birdie at 13, but bogeyed 14, 17 and 18.
''I was just hitting my ball in the wrong spot,'' he said about the bogeys.
Yartz, who was a first-team All-American last year, had a 54-hole total of 226 for second-team honors. And that's not too bad after playing all week with his left foot and ankle wrapped after he aggravated an earlier fracture. He admitted it was killing him on the back nine.
''I can barely walk,'' he said. ''I knew I had to tough it out.''
Mucheck said, ''He was in a lot of pain today. He was in pain before the round started, but he wouldn't tell anybody that.''
Yartz was breezing along at even par through eight holes, but he triple-bogeyed the par-4 ninth. His drive landed in the bank of a bunker on the adjacent 18th green of the Hill Course and after punching out and through trees he finally got on the green in five and two-putted.
But Yartz bounced back from a 3-over 38 on the front nine with a 1-over 38 on the back with the help of a birdie at the par-4 17th.
''I wanted to go birdie-birdie at 17 and 18,'' the Southwestern graduate said.
Wilcox finished his 78 by sinking 20-foot birdie putt at 18.
''That was a nice cap to two years of Jayhawk golf,'' the Cassadaga Valley graduate said.
Wilcox noted he had the same putt at 18 last year and also sunk it.
When asked when he heard the lead was slipping away, Wilcox said, ''A few holes after the turn.''
Then he knew things were worse, ''When I doubled 12.''
Farnham had his best round of the tournament with a 79 that included four three-putt greens. And he lipped out putts for pars five times and once for a birdie and also left another birdie putt short.
''I could have shot a career round today,'' the Maple Grove graduate said. ''That might be the best I've ever hit the ball.''
But not with the putter.
The best rounds of the day were 1-under 71s by Aaron Rondon of Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, Thompson of Sandhills CC and Richie Elliott of SUNY Sullivan.
The individual champion was Ethan Chamineak of Georgia Military College from Milledgeville, Ga., who shot 70-73-73-216, even par.
Vincennes University 303-304-303-910
Sandhills CC 308-308-298-914
Jamestown CC 297-309-309-915
Minnesota State TCC 310-304-302-916
Georgia Military College 310-307-301-918
Monroe CC 307-318-307-932
Nassau CC 324-305-314-943
Burlington CC 313-313-319-945
College of DuPage 313-328-307-948
Suffolk County CC 320-327-323-970
CC of Rhode Island 350-337-341-1,028
County College of Morris 345-351-336-1,032
Butler County CC 357-361-332-1,050
TOP 15 INDIVIDUALS
Ethan Chamineak, Ga. Military College70-73-73-216
Aaron Rondon, SW Wisconsin TC 74-72-71-217
Darren McCormack, Suffolk County CC 75-72-75-222
Nick Thompson, Sandhill CC 75-77-71-223
Drew Chaddock, Jamestown CC 73-74-76-224
Alex Mead, Sandhill CC 76-74-74-224
Jake Yartz, Jamestown CC 74-76-76-226
Connor Salanger, Onondaga CC 76-77-73-226
Lucas Gervais, Minnesota State CTC 80-70-76-226
Tyler Sloan, Vincennes U. 73-79-76-228
Shelby Stewart, Vincennes U. 74-74-80-228
Anthony Margentina, Col. of DuPage 77-76-75-228
Xavier Owens, College of DuPage 77-77-75-229
Doug DeCarlo, Mohawk Valley CC 77-78-74-229
Richie Elliott, SUNY Sullivan 77-81-71-229
Trevor Grant, Vincennes U. 77-76-76-229