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Missouri struggles in final round of Mizzou Intercollegiate

Tuesday, April 8, 2008 | 9:16 p.m. CDT; updated 8:27 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

By DAVID THIESSEN

sports@ColumbiaMissourian.com

COLUMBIA — The weather conditions on Tuesday for the Mizzou Intercollegiate more closely resembled those at the British Open than what is expected for Columbia in April.

Unfortunately for Missouri, according to junior Peter Malnati, the Tigers played more like a high school team.

Missouri shot a 317 for the third round and finished tied for 10th place with Xavier with a three-round score of 932. Indiana won the tournament with a score of 881.

The final round almost did not take place. Thunderstorms delayed warm ups, and play did not start until half an hour after it was scheduled. Even then the round was almost called short of completion. The thunder had disappeared, but the rain and wind steadily increased for the next hour and a half, and tournament officials nearly canceled the round.

For the golfers, conditions were the worst on the 13th hole. Normally a par 4 at 450 yards, it played more like a par 5 with golfers hitting into a strong wind.

“Thirteen was ridiculous,” Malnati said, emphasizing ridiculous. “When I pulled my 3-iron for the second shot, I’m thinking ‘I’ll just lay it up. I made par on this hole from 100 yards yesterday.’ I didn’t even get to 100 yards. I still had 113 yards for my third shot. So much wind, so cold and so much rain.”

On Malnati’s second shot, the ball hung in the air, nearly moving backwards. Malnati finished the round with a 3-over-par 75, and ended the tournament tied for ninth with a 6-over-par 222.

The weather conditions affected play for the entire field. Only David Lingmerth of Arkansas finished under par for the third round.

“It was definitely difficult, but it was as difficult for everybody else as it was for me,” Malnati said.

Missouri freshman Will Harrold might have been the most prepared for the weather. Harrold is from Guestwich, England, a land known for its wind and rain.

“It’s similar, but today’s pretty bad,” Harrold said. “Not every day is this bad in England.”

Even though Harrold said that he is more familiar with playing in these conditions than other players, it reached a point where his previous experience did not make a difference.

“You just have to grind away,” he said. “You know it’s going to be hard, and you know you’re going to make big numbers on a couple holes. I think the winners are the guys who grind it out the most. It’s more a mental battle.”

Coming into the tournament, Missouri hoped that its familiarity with the course would give it an advantage over the other teams. In the end, the home course advantage never materialized.

Malnati was particularly frustrated with Missouri’s play.

“Our results have been consistently bad,” he said. “I refuse to admit that we don’t have the talent to be good because we do, but if you look at our scores today, they weren’t good.”

Missouri’s 317 for the third round was its worst of the tournament by seven strokes.

Malnati described his play in the tournament as poor, highlighted by weak putting and ball striking. However, he was not upset about this poor performance.

“To look at the numbers I shot playing pretty poorly, I can feel pretty good about that,” Malnati said. “That was really a solid round of golf with that one mistake.”

That one mistake came at the 15th hole, where he shot a 3-over-par 8. Malnati twice had to take drops after hitting into hazards. He said that his error came from selecting the wrong club.

“I watched the wind knock it down instead of floating it, and as soon as I saw the wind knocking it down I said, ‘You hit it in the freaking creek. You idiot.’ And I did,” he said.

After the tournament, Missouri coach Mark Leroux declined to comment about his team’s performance. However, he talked about the tournament as a whole, which was the first held at Old Hawthorne, Missouri’s new home course.

“I think the tournament served its purpose,” Leroux said. “I think we really showed off Columbia, MU and this golf course.”


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