COLUMBIA — Missouri junior Peter Malnati found his ball half submerged in a swampy hazard in front of the fourth green at The Club at Old Hawthorne. Malnati blasted the ball from the mud to 7 feet and drained the putt, saving par in his now mud-covered pants. Although his shot was one to remember, Monday was a day to forget for the Missouri men’s golf team.
On the opening day of the first annual Mizzou Intercollegiate, the Tigers felt confident that they could exorcise the demons that had plagued them all season and capture their first win of the 2007-08 season. Outside of Malnati’s 3-over 147, which left him tied for 10th place and still in contention for the individual title, Missouri continued to be tormented by high scores, despite hosting its first tournament on its home course in more than a decade. The Tigers shot a 615, leaving them in 10th place, just 3 shots ahead of last-place Xavier and 39 shots behind 36-hole leader Indiana.
1. Indiana: 294, 282 - 576 2. Arkansas: 291, 293 - 584 T3. Wichita St.: 292, 297 - 589 T3. Iowa St.: 307, 282 - 589 5. Kansas St. 298, 293 - 591
1. Jorge Campillo, Indiana: 72, 66 - 138 2. Andrew Landry, Arkansas: 69, 73 - 142 3. Randy Hutchinson, Michigan St.: 72, 71 - 143 Three tied at 144
T10. Peter Malnati: 74 - 73 - 147 T31. Tyler Hillis (individual): 77 - 74 - 151 T41. William Harrold: 80 - 74 - 154 T50. Bud Reynolds: 76 - 81 - 157 T59. Ryne Fisher: 78 - 82 - 160 61. Kyle Marcolla: 77 - 85 - 162 63. Beau Crawford: (individual): 89 - 82 - 171
Malnati, the sole bright spot for the Tigers, voiced his frustrations after his 36-hole day.
“We were bad, and we shouldn’t be,” Malnati said. “It’s been going on for a long time, and we keep on saying, ‘This week, we’re going to turn it around this week,’ and yet here we are, on our home course, pumped up to turn it around, and we’re beating one team at the end of the day.”
Malnati’s miraculous par save was just one of several over his two rounds on Monday, but on his second-to-last hole, his par putt lipped out after landing his approach shot just 2-feet from the hole from 100 yards out. The bogey put Malnati at 1-over for his afternoon round after being as low as 2-under earlier in his round.
“I did have a fly pass right in front of my face right when I hit it, and kind of flinched,” Malnati said. “But if you can’t hit a two-foot putt with a swarm of flies buzzing around you, you’re in trouble, so there’s really no reason I should have missed that putt.”
Malnati is 9 shots behind leader Jorge Campillo of Indiana, who tied a course record with a 66 in his afternoon round.
Missouri coach Mark Leroux echoed Malnati’s disappointment with the team’s performance.
“We haven’t played very well all year,” Leroux said. “We felt like we had made some progress the last couple times out and now, coming to our home course, we felt like we really had a shot to rebound, but maybe we just put too much pressure on ourselves to perform today.”
Freshman William Harrold said the Tigers’ disappointing performance was surprising, considering the way he felt the team prepared.
“We all want to do good, I know that,” Harrold said. “I’m not sure about everyone else, but most of us have been practicing our butts off trying to get our game in shape.”
Thunderstorms in the forecast for today have left the tournament’s final round in doubt, but Malnati said he and his teammates know how important today’s round will be if they get a chance to play.
“We just want to come out tomorrow and play the round of the year,” Malnati said. “Even if we were up by 20, I’d still want to come out and play tomorrow.”