Finishing strong, meanwhile, is exactly what the eighth-ranked Warriors hope to do today by finishing off its third straight win on the course that will be the home of this spring’s national tournament. For Hagen, the run to return to Spirit Hollow for next May’s national tourney begins today in a lot of ways.
“I look at it as important as any time of the year. It’s not just the fall season. This is the time you can start to determine your pecking order and build some momentum going into the spring,” Hagen said. “You enter every tournament to win it. I want to win this tournament and the guys want to win it. We could be six strokes from a perfect fall with several new guys. It’s important to us to finish the fall strong heading into the spring.”
For several of the Warriors national championship challengers, Saturday’s trip to Ottumwa was the first chance to experience a course and playing conditions that were much different than some of the conditions and courses the southern squads are used to.
“It was a lot different golf for those guys. They are so used to playing tighter golf courses and they are used to different elements,” Hagen said. “They had a lot fun with it.”
That was, however, until the final scores came in.
“This was the first time they’ve been here (to Ottumwa). They may never come back after this,” Hagen joked.
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COMMUNITY FIRST CREDIT UNION INVITATIONAL
At Ottumwa Country Club
Team scoring — 1. Indian Hills 289-302-591, T2. McLennan 297-299-596, T2. Odessa 296-300-596, 4. Iowa Western 299-310-609, 5. New Mexico 308-316-624, 6. Kirkwood 312-313-625, 7. Illinois Central 325-321-646.
Medalist — Josh Smith (IHCC) 69-72-141.
Runner-up — Hunter Shattuck (McLennan) 72-71-143.
IHCC individuals — 1. Smith 69-72-141, T3. Harrison Moore 72-72-144, T3. Sam Sloman 73-71-144, T7. Greg Stanek 79-69-148, T7. Jakob Garstecki 70-78-148, T13. Colin Pearson 73-77-150, T13. George Trujillo 75-75-150, 21. Isaac Vandersee 79-75-154, T22. Luke Monson 74-81-155.