By Jim Riggs
CHAUTAUQUA - Defending champion Vincennes University from Vincennes, Ind., didn't make it back to the NJCAA Division III National Golf Championships this year. That is because it lost the Region 12 championship to the Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Surge from Cincinnati, Ohio.
Jamestown Community College coach Ryan Jones, left, and Jayhawks golfer Cory Rodgers examine Rodgers’ putt on the 10th green during the opening round of the NJCAA Division III National Golf Championships on Tuesday. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
Brandon Sletmoen of Minnesota State Community and Technical College tees off at No. 10 in the first round of the NJCAA Division III National Golf Championships on Tuesday. He shot a 2-over-par 74. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
Cincinnati State won that regional title by shooting a team score of 299, 11-over-par, in one of its rounds and defeated Vincennes by 62 shots. And the Surge continued that excellent play on Tuesday by touring the Lake Course at Chautauqua Golf Club with a 300 to lead the nationals by four shots over Sandhills CC from Pinehurst, N.C. The College of DuPage from Glen Ellyn, Ill., is third at 305 and Anne Arundal CC from Arnold, Md., is fourth with 308.
Because of early-morning rain, the start of the event was delayed one hour to 10 a.m. Then there was another one-hour delay early in the afternoon when the players were called off the course because of a downpour.
''The rain delay, it did bother us,'' Cincinnati State coach Scott Webb said. ''I'll say that yes and no. When we went back out there, a couple of my guys did real well and a couple of my guys fell apart.''
It definitely didn't hurt Matt Nickoson of the Surge, who shot the low round of the day, a 1-under 71.
''He's a sophomore and he's a fantastic player,'' Webb said. ''In our regional, he shot 3 under par for the tournament. He can play some golf.''
And so can the entire team. Also for Cincinnati State, Taylor Suggs and Austin Kyle shots 75s, Jeff Wray had a 79 and an 80 by John McQueen was tossed out.
Webb had hoped they would shoot a 299 on Tuesday.
''You can't be mad about 300,'' Webb said. ''I think we've got a good little team that can put it down in the 200s sometimes, so that's our goal.''
But he's not setting a goal for today's second round.
''We don't have numbers in our minds,'' Webb said. ''What we do is play the course and tomorrow and it could be cold and windy and nasty.''
The host for the tournament, Jamestown CC, is not fielding a team, but instead has two individuals- freshmen Cory Rodgers and Chad Van Every. They had the perfect start to the day as they hit their first tee shots ever in a national tournament right down the middle on No. 10, their first hole.
''I remember when I played (for JCC in 2005) I think I went 40 yards right of No. 10,'' Jones said. ''I told them both they should be proud. Up to this point that's probably the most nervous time in their life and they both stood up there and handled it with great ease.''
See NJCAA, Page B2
Rodgers, who finished with a 9-over 81, said, ''I was so relieved.''
And Van Every, who finished with a 10-over 82, echoed that.
''It was a big relief,'' he said. ''It was nervewracking.''
Rodgers had a 5-over 42 on the back nine and a 4-over 39 on the front while Van Every went 43-39. And their scores in the low 80s were fine with Jones.
''It told them if they shot any where in that area that they would be hanging with the group,'' he said.
Rodgers is tied for 34th place and Van Every is tied of 40th in the individual scoring. The top 18 individuals earn NJCAA All-american status.
Jones thought starting on the par-37 back nine was an advantage for his duo.
''You get that hard side out of the way,'' he said. ''Unfortunately, today they both made a couple of errors in spots where they usually don't make errors and they turned at a little bit higher than they would have or I would have liked. But what's impressive to me is they both battled and still broke 40 on the easier side.''
After he parred 10, Rodgers had three straight bogeys followed by three straight pars. But at the par-r4 17th, he hit his drive out of bounds to the left and finished with a triple-bogey 7.
''Then I came back with a birdie on 18,'' Rodgers said.
And that didn't look possible when he hit his tee shot into trouble on the right.
Rodgers said his thoughts were, ''All I need is par.''
He got something better as he punched out with a 5-iron to the side of the green and then used a 60-degree wedge to sink his chip shot for a birdie 3.
He had a similar finish on the front nine. He followed up a double-bogey 5 at No. 8 with a par 4 at No. 9, which is almost like a birdie.
After Van Every parred No. 10 to start, he carded four straight bogeys. Then he got back on track with a par at 15 and birdie 4 at 16.
''I almost had an eagle,'' Van Every said about his 52-degree wedge shot from 100 yards that landed 2 feet from the hole at 16.
However, at 18 he also drove to the right.
''I had a punch shot and kind of stubbed,'' he said and the result was a double-bogey 6.
At the par-5 third, Van Every was forced to hit two punch shots and still made par.
''Anytime you hit two punch shots on one hole and you get out of there with a par, that's good hole,'' Jones said.
Van Every had another double-bogey at the par-4 seventh, but closed out par-par.
''I had to get up and down again,'' he said about the par 4 at No. 9. ''Coach said I had to made the putt.''
And did from 4 to 5 feet to save the par.
For today's second round, Van Every will be first off for the Jayhawks at 10:30 a.m. at No. 1 and Rodgers will follow at 10:38 a.m.
Cincinnati State TCC300
College Of DuPage305
Anne Arundel CC308
Minnesota State CTC323
Suffolk County CC330
Burlington County College343
County College of Morris347
CC of Rhode Island366
Top 15 Individuals, plus ties
Matt Nickoson, Cincinnati State TCC71
Jordan Yamamoto, College of Dupage72
Jesse Bingman, Northhampton CC73
Andrew Owad, Suffoolk County CC73
Nick Thompson, Sandhills CC73
Steve Letterle, CC of Rhode Island73
Ediz Kemaloglu, Sandhills CC73
Brandon Sletmoen, Minnesota State CTC74
Richard Elliott, Sillivan County CC75
Ryan McVey, Anne Arundel CC75
Taylor Suggs, Cincinnati State TCC75
Alec Meyer, College of DuPage75
Austin Kyle, Cincinnati State TCC75
Cheuk Ma, Anne Arundel CC75
Tyler Robbins, Westmoreland County CC76