by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
One of 15 teams to make an unexpected cut in the 2018 NJCAA Division II national golf tournament, Kansas City Kansas Community College moved up to finish in 14th place.
The tournament played at GlenLakes Golf Club in Foley, Alabama, was marred by bad weather each of the final three days and came at the worst times for KCKCC. On both Tuesday and Wednesday, the tournament had lengthy delays as the Blue Devils were three holes from finishing.
After a fast start on Wednesday, the Blue Devils slipped to 15th place before surging past Grand Rapids into 14th Thursday.
“We were only two over after the front nine Wednesday only to have the last three holes get us again,,” said KCKCC coach Gary Shrader, whose Blue Devils lost 21 strokes to par on the back nine and finished with a 311 total. “We had the same problem two days in a row. We had to go back out and just didn’t have it.” The Blue Devils had a 310 finishing round Thursday.
The third round Wednesday was stopped twice because of rain and lightning and almost missed completion.
“They finished in the dark with car lights on the last hole,” Shrader said. “They had two groups to finish so volunteers pulled up their cars and they played the last hole with car lights.”
With more rain forecast for Thursday’s final round, the tournament field was cut in half with the top 15 teams finishing four rounds, the rest of the field heading home. It proved to be the right move. Thursday’s round had a two-hour early afternoon delay because of lightning and rain.
Two Blue Devils, sophomores Micah Morris and Bobby Armstrong, tied for 55th place with 18-over par 306 totals. Morris had rounds of 71, 77, 75 and 83; Armstrong 74, 77, 79 and 76. Freshman Evin Wheaton tied for 76th with a 75-84-78-79-316; frosh Zach Miller was 82nd (85-84-83-77-321) and sophomore Trevor Bauer 88th (85-77-85-82-329).
“We didn’t play as well as we’re capable,” Shrader said. “We got out of contention and I think we started to try to take chances and make birdies and it didn’t work.”
The one team Thursday’s two-hour delay didn’t bother was Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, which shot a spectacular 9-under par final round and claim the Bulldogs first ever team championship. The 279 enabled Mississippi Gulf Coast to finish at 2-under par and one shot ahead of conference rival Meridian Community College. Parkland finished third at 1-over and South Mountain fourth at 2-over.
South Mountain‘s Leon D’Souza shot a final round 3-under par 69 to finish 8-under for the tournament and a shot ahead of teammate Jeffrey Miller.