Courier sports staff
MACOMB, Ill. —
After not having played a round of golf in three weeks, the third-ranked Indian Hills golf team returned to the site where their season turned the corner toward a second straight national title last year.
IHCC may be one round away from a repeat performance, improving by 11 shots from an opening-round 299. A second-round 288 has put the Warriors within two shots of the team lead heading into Saturday’s final 18 holes of the 41st annual Beu Mussatto Invitational.
“I feel great going into the final round,” Indian Hills head golf coach Mike Hagen said. “We kind of got into a slow start in our first round, but we got a solid build going at the end of the first round and carried that over into the second round.”
IHCC needed a little while to shake off the rust after nasty Midwest weather kept the Warriors off the course for most of March. Indian Hills got back into the mix by taking advantage of their length, using a 10-shot edge on par 5 holes as a team to move within two shots of South Dakota State with a 599 two-round total.
“Tee to green, I thought we hit it pretty well,” Hagen said. “There were glimpses out there where we looked like the team I know we can be. We also looked like a team that hasn’t competed for a few weeks.”
Putting was also a big key for the Warriors, who are tied with IUPUI for most birdies as a team with 28 through two rounds. Sophomore William White used his two-round tourney-best eight birdies to lead IHCC, tying fellow freshman Connor Peck as the Warriors’ top scorer after two rounds as both golfers are tied for eighth individually with two-round two-over par 146 totals.
Indian Hills returns to the Harry Mussatto Golf Course in western Illinois this morning at 9 a.m. looking to defend their title with another come-from-behind effort. Last year’s win sparked the Warriors to a winning streak that ended with IHCC claiming a second straight national title.
“I think we have the opportunity to do that again,” Hagen said. “Our guys feel like we left a few shots out there. Even though they haven’t gotten into a routine, they’re playing with a lot of confidence.”
41st Annual Beu Mussatto Invitational
At Harry Mussatto Golf Course
Team scoring — 1. South Dakota State 300-285-585, T2 Indian Hills 299-288-587, T2. IUPUI 286-301-587, T4. Lewis University 297-293-590, T4. Valparaiso 294-296-590, 6. North Dakota State 305-288-593, 7. Western Illinois 305-292-597, T8. Nebraska-Omaha 305-294-599, T8. Creighton 299-300-599, 10. Bradley 306-297-603, 11. South Dakota 300-308-608, 12. Western Illinois Gold 309-305-614, 13. Green Bay 309-312-621, 14. St. Ambrose 316-315-631, 15. Chicago State 356-343-699.
Leader — Austin Winings (IUPUI) 69-74-143.
Second Place — Hudson Carpenter (South Dakota State) 74-70-144, Kyle Henning (Valparaiso) 71-73-144, Bill Carlson (North Dakota State) 71-73-144, Lukas Davison (SDSU) 75-69-144.
IHCC individuals — T8. Connor Peck 74-72-146, T8. William White 75-71-146, T13. Mitch Tucker 74-73-147, T20. Ben Ludlum 76-72-148, T30. Colin Pearson 77-73-150.
Other IHCC individuals — T11. Kevin Workman 75-72-147.