Columbia College golf struggles early in first fall tournament

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 | 9:33 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Columbia College men’s golf team finished ninth overall Tuesday in the Missouri Intercollegiate Tournament, the team's first tournament of the fall season.

The Cougars were set to finish the two-day tournament on Wednesday in Porto Cima-Sunrise Beach, but the event was cut short because of rain.

“It’s just Mother Nature. We knew going in on Sunday that there were forecasts of rain, so I told them that we need to play like there’s not going to be another round,” Columbia head golf coach John Utley said. 

Columbia recovered from a slow start in the morning round where the team shot a cumulative 317, but finished 19 strokes better to score 615 – 39 over par – in the tournament.

William Woods finished in first place in the 14-team field with a score of 562, which was 14 under par.

Utley said he was disappointed with the first round but was proud of the way the team bounced back Tuesday afternoon. 

“They showed a lot of heart. They put up the numbers I was expecting after the rough start," Utley said.

Utley said most of the Cougars struggles in the first round were due to having eight double bogeys and two triples. 

“I challenge them every tournament to make no worse than bogey,” Utley said. 

Two underclassmen led the Cougars while Hunter Parrish, the team's No. 1 player, was out with a stress fracture in his right hand. 

Columbia sophomore Colbey Schuster tied for 17th and led the Cougars shooting 5 over par through 36 holes Tuesday.

Utley said he was proud of the way Schuster played and was impressed that he was able to salvage his round after starting 4 over par early, but was able to finish only 5 over on the day. 

Former Missouri high school individual champion, freshmen Trevor Cronin, placed 26th overall and was 8 over par.

Utley said the way Cronin played Tuesday only confirmed why he had recruited the freshmen from Barat Academy. 

“He showed me a lot. He said he did not hit the ball as well as he scored. Which means he got everything he could out of it,” Utley said.

The Cougars play next at the Central Methodist Fall Eagle Open on Sept. 15 and 16 at the Hail Ridge Golf Course in Boonville. 

Supervising editor is Raymond Howze.

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