Courier sports staff
---- — NEWTON, Kan. — Indian Hills head golf coach Mike Hagen anticipated a battle for the Warrior golf team just to defend their NJCAA district championship.
After two rounds of action, the two-time defending national champs indeed appear to be in for the type of final-round battle that the national tournament would love to have. Third-ranked IHCC held onto to an opening-day advantage over No. 9 Dodge City despite struggling in the second round Monday at the NJCAA District III Tournament.
The Warriors followed a 291 to open play at the district meet with a 302. Dodge City played steady golf for 36 holes with matching 297 rounds, leaving the Warriors clinging to a one-shot lead heading into today’s final round.
Indian Hills has a player tied for individual lead heading into the final round, though not one of the players battling for the team title as Kevin Workman finds himself playing in the field as an individual in a tie with Dodge City’s Mariano Rossi after firing a one-under par 143 two-round total.
Despite how they got there, coach Mike Hagen is still happy to be taking the lead into the final 18 holes of the district meet, then trying to chase down the lead.
“We are still leading and we didn’t dig ourselves any kind of hole,” Hagen said. “We just have to shake off the day. We just need to get a good night’s rest and do what we’ve been training to do all year.”
“No matter what, this is a great learning experience for the team. It’s a different type of pressure. We’ll see how the guys react to it,” Hagen said.
NJCAA District III Tournament
At Sand Creek Station Course
Team scoring — 1. Indian Hills 291-302-593, 2. Dodge City 297-297-594, 3. Iowa Western 300-306-606, 4. Hutchinson 305-303-608, 5. Johnson County 312-311-623, 6. Garden City 311-324-635, 7. Coffeyville 317-324-642, 8. Barton County 324-326-650, 9. Colby 334-327-661, 10. Kansas City (Kansas) 335-340-675, 11. Northwest Kansas Tech 406-414-820.
Leaders — Mariano Rossi (Dodge City) 73-70-143 and Kevin Workman (Indian Hills) 70-73-143.
Third place — Michael O’Connor (Hutchinson) 68-76-144.
IHCC individuals — T4. Ben Ludlam 71-77-148, T4. Mitch Tucker 74-74-148, T6. Connor Peck 72-77-149, T10. William White 74-78-152, T10. Colin Pearson 78-74-152.