NSU men’s golf finishes ninth in Arkansas
TNE Editor
/ Categories: RiverHawk Athletics, Golf

NSU men’s golf finishes ninth in Arkansas

10/11/18

Ebba Moberg

TNE Writer

NSU men’s golf played their third tournament of the fall in Hot Spring, Arkansas, in the Battle for the Belt, hosted by Henderson State University. This event was played at the same course as the regional championship will be played at this coming spring. The tournament was also played in the same format that the regional event will be, with one round being played each day.

Carlos Gomez paced the RiverHawks the first day with a score of three-under, 69, which had him sitting in third individually. Tyler Ashman carded a one-under, 71, and was tied for 13th after the first day of play. Jax Johnson was two shots back tied for 28th, and Hunter Pennington carded a 76, which put him tied for 59th. Grant Hynes shot a 77 to round out the NSU starting five and he is tied for 69th. NSU shot a one-over par, 289, and was placed fourth overall after the first day. Maryville was sitting on top of the leader board with a 279, eight strokes in front of Southern Arkansas.

“It was a huge tournament with major NCAA Regional implications,” said Scott Varner, NSU golf head coach. “We are close to being a very good team this season. We are young and talented, and we play to win tournaments.”

The second day brought higher scores for the RiverHawks, who slipped three spots down the leaderboard with a score of five-over, 293. Johnson paced NSU the second day of play with a five-under score of 67 and climbed to third place with a total score of 140. This was Johnson’s lowest score of his career and fourth round under par out of the eight he has played for NSU.

“Honestly, I was not a very big fan of the golf course,” said Johnson. “It was all because of the greens. As much spin as I put on the ball, it was difficult to get the ball close to the hole, but it was a challenge, so it made me fight harder. This course is set up for good iron and wedge players, and it was very narrow and the greens small. Not too many hazard areas butthere were some that could get you if you are not careful.”

Following Johnson was Ashman and Gomez who were both eight strokes back of their fellow freshman with the two-day-total scores of 148. Hynes shot the second lowest score of the day for the RiverHawks and was tied for 58th with a total of 150. Pennington rounded out the RiverHawks on the second day and is sitting two shots back of Hynes going into the third day of play.

On the third day of play, the RiverHawks fell another two spots down the leaderboard and ended up in ninth place overall, carding a total score of 875, 289, 293, 293. Johnson shot the team low score of the tournament with a total of 216, 73, 67, 76, and was tied for 21st overall. Gomez was second of the RiverHawks with a total score of 217 and a 23rd place. Ashman had a 221, and Pennington shot a 227. Hynes carded a 229 to round out NSU's group. The tournament host, Henderson State, won by 11 shots with an 849.

“(We) started out in fourth and in good position to win the tourney,” said Varner. “We slipped in round two and continued to slide in the final round. It was our worst tournament of the year. We took some painful losses to a few teams after jumping on them in the first two tournaments. Freshmen Jax, Carlos, and Tyler have been playing at a pretty doggone high level.”

Going forward, the RiverHawks will play on Oct. 8-9 in the Missouri Western State Invitational in St. Joseph, Missouri. A tournament the RiverHawks placed in seventh last year but is going into this year with a completely new lineup.“Traveling with the guys is always a blast, “said Ashman. “I feel like the team dynamic is in such a great place right now, we all get along so well and feed off each other, we all motivate and play for each other. I feel good about my game right now and I am excited to play in Missouri for our next tournament.”



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