OTTUMWA — When it was first announced that the NJCAA Division I National Golf Championship would be decided in southeastern Iowa, Indian Hills head coach Mike Hagen saw it as a great opportunity.
Sure, the obvious opportunity that will hopefully present itself this upcoming May is for the Warrior golfers to win the program’s fourth national championship just 90 minutes away from home. That opportunity could present a very significant ‘home course’ advantage to IHCC this upcoming spring.
But the other opportunity that presented itself to Hagen was an opportunity to give some of Indian Hills’ fellow national championship contenders to the Warriors actual home course over the weekend directly ahead of the annual national preview tournament. That ultimately led to perhaps the most star-studded tournament that Indian Hills has ever hosted.
“That’s the reason we got them,” Hagen said about booking teams like second-ranked Odessa and fourth-ranked McLennan, both from Texas, to the Community First Credit Union Invite. “ If you’re going to travel halfway across the country to play, we can work out our schedule.”
The eighth-ranked Warriors have never lost on the home turf of the Ottumwa Country Club. Considering talent like national tournament qualifiers McLennan, Odessa and Iowa Western made the trip Saturday to IHCC’s course, keeping that unbeaten home record intact was going to be very difficult.
Instead, the Warriors took the opportunity over the weekend to finish the fall season proving they could compete with the nation’s best despite have several new faces leading the charge. An opening-round 289 gave IHCC enough of a cushion to edge out a pair of Texas challengers as a two-round 591 beat out McLennan and Odessa by five shots as the Warriors earned its toughest Community First Credit Union Invite to date.