GODFREY – Lewis and Clark golfers posted a first place finish in the Illinois College Blue Boy Invitational April 15-16.
This season, the team has posted three second place finishes and one fifth place finish. Friday, four players posted scores in the 70s for a tournament leading 301.
This was 14 shots clear of the field of six National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III teams. North Central College stood at 315, followed by Monmouth College and Missouri Baptist at 323.
Joaquin Perez led the Trailblazers with a one under par round of 71; Jabarri Quarles followed with a 76; and Andrew Simpson and Brian Gebben both added 77.
The tournament was played at The Rail Golf Course in Springfield, Illinois, with plenty of challenging holes, Head Coach Gerald Mozur said.
“We were grateful for warm temperatures and sunshine,” Coach Mozur said. “Every competition prior to this one was in less than stellar conditions, with cold, rain, wind, and clouds, so it was nice for the team to respond to the better conditions with such fine play. Two of our previous tournaments we had the lead after the first day, but we could not close. This time the team showed that it could do just that. They really stepped up in this tournament and showed how well they can play.”
No. 1 Dustin Duncan pulled a muscle in his lower back, and had to withdraw the second day of play. With Duncan out, the team needed to play sharp, as the format is to take the lowest four scores of five players.
The Trailblazers had a smaller margin for error for the day, but the players responded.
Perez paced the Trailblazers with an even par 72, which gave him a tournament winning total of 143. This was Perez’s fourth medal of the season—adding a first place to his three second place finishes.
Simpson and Gebben improved their cards by each posting a 75. Given the original lead and strong play of these three, Quarles’s closing 89 was sufficient to bring home the victory.
“I am very proud of their play and happy for them,” Mozur said. “This is a capable and talented group, and we’ll keep working to improve as we move toward the NJCAA D-III Region 24 tournament.”
The final tallies were:
Lewis and Clark – 301-311=612
North Central College – 315-312=627
Monmouth College – 323-310=633
Missouri Baptist – 323-315=638
Illinois College – 331-310=641
Knox College – 339-335=674
Westminster College – 367-347=714