Courier sports staff
LUBBOCK, Texas —
If the first two rounds of this tournament is truly a preview of things to come, Indian Hills is going to have to grind their way to a third straight NJCAA Division I National Golf title.
The first two rounds of the NJCAA Division I National Preview Tournament tested IHCC and 11 other squads all day long at the Rawls Course in Lubbock. When it was over, the two-time defending national champs found themselves alone in third place with rounds of 298 and 293 on Monday for a 591 total.
IHCC is just three shots behind McLennan for second place in the tournament. Taking the lead away from Odessa, who is 10 shots clear of the Warriors with a 581 two-round total, is going to be much tougher.
“It was a pretty good job by the guys. We just couldn’t get anything going early on,” Indian Hills head coach Mike Hagen said. “We stumbled out of the gates a little bit, then the winds picked up and the greens were tough. We just didn’t leave ourselves good birdie looks and kept grinding for pars.”
“Odessa just played a tournament here a couple weeks ago. We had one practice round on Sunday. I think, specifically with the greens, having some familiarity helps.”
Micah Rodgers led Odessa with a round of 141, one shot better then West Texas linkster Frederick Andersen for the individual lead. William White led IHCC with rounds of 73 and 71, a 144 total that leaves White at even par for the tournament after a fantastic finish to the day.
“William birdied five of his last seven holes to get back to even,” Hagen said. “We had a lot of guys finish strong. Ben (Ludlam) struggled with a 77 in the first round, made an adjustment to his swing and picked up six shots in the afternoon.”
IHCC wraps up the tournament, and the fall portion of the season, today with the final round of the national preview tourney. Despite a 10-shot deficit, Hagen feels his team can still finish the fall on a winning note.
“I think we can carry over that good play into the final round,” Hagen said. “None of the guys ever quit. Everyone gave us something to help us. I’ve seen eight to 10-shot leads go away easy at tournaments like this.”
NJCAA DI Preview
At Rawls Golf Course, Lubbock, Texas
Monday, Oct. 22
FIRST AND SECOND ROUND
Team scoring — 1. Odessa 287-294-581, 2. McLennan 296-292-588, 3. Indian Hills 298-293-591, 4. Western Texas 301-292-593, T5. North Idaho 306-292-598, T5. Dodge City 300-298-598, 7. Hutchinson 302-304-606, 8. Midland 308-308-616, 9. Garden City 311-307-618, 10. Clarendon 314-312-626, 11. New Mexico 321-325-646, 12. New Mexico Institute 332-331-663.
Leader — Micah Rodgers (Odessa) 69-72-141.
Second — Frederick Andersen (W. Texas) 73-69-142.
IHCC individuals — T6. William White 73-71-144, T15. Ben Ludlam 77-71-146, T19. Connor Peck 75-74-149, T28. Kevin Workman 73-79-152, T34. Mitch Tuckerr 77-77-154.
Other IHCC — T15. Colin Pearson 75-73-148.