WICHITA, Kas. — The first tournament of the fall season was one Indian Hills golf fans could look at from a "glass half empty" or "glass half full" perspective.
Sure, the Warriors did lose an overnight lead at Newman University’s Martin Park Fall Invitational to Oklahoma Christian. A final round 298 team total by Indian Hills was five shots higher than the four-year Division II national title hopeful, allowing Oklahoma Christian to turn a three-shot deficit into a two-shot victory over IHCC for the team championship with a six-over par 582 total.
However, considering that only two of the Warriors on the course at Reflection Ridge Monday and Tuesday had any previous experience playing intercollegiate golf, perhaps a runner-up team finish to open the fall season isn’t so bad.
“There are mixed feelings about it,” Indian Hills head coach Mike Hagen said. “You never like to lose. You always compete to win, but we had a lot of young guys competing for us. To have those guys putting in position to compete with a DII power like Oklahoma Christian is saying something for our first meet out.
“There are clearly some things we need to work on. We didn’t necessarily play the par fives as well as we could have (on Tuesday), but that’s one of those things that will come with time and work.”
Indian Hills may not have brought home the team championship, but the most experienced golfer on the team showed some of that poise when it counted to bring home the individual title on Tuesday. Sophomore Colin Pearson won a thrilling three-way battle for meet medalist honors, birding the final two holes to edge out Newman’s James Bolton and Cameron’s Dylan McClure by just one shot.
Pearson won the medalist honor in style. After a birdie by Bolton forced a three-way tie on the final hole, Pearson drained an eight-foot birdie on 18 to avoid a playoff.