Central three shots off league men’s golf lead

PELLA — Central College is in the thick of the American Rivers men’s golf tourney title Chase after the first day of the condensed two-day tournament.

Due to forecasted bad weather on Saturday, the 54-hole tourney is being contested over two days. Central grabbed a two-shot lead with a 308 over the first 18 holes at the par-71 Geneva Golf and Country Club, which is hosting the tournament for the first time before finishing with 152 on the par-35 front nine for 458. The Dutch stand three shots out of the lead.

Nebraska Wesleyan University shot 308-147-455 and moved into a tie for first with Luther College, which shot 315-140-455. The University of Dubuque is fourth at 309-155–464 and Loras College is fifth at 308-157-465.

“A number of teams could still win it,” Coach Mel Blasi said. “There are plenty of holes left.”

Lucas Wendel (junior, Le Claire, Pleasant Valley HS) is fourth individually at 75-37—112. Harold Dobernecker (sophomore, nevada) is tied for fifth at 75-38-113, Drake Hamilton (freshman, Westlake, Texas, Keller HS) is 13th at 76-40—116, Jake Moffett (sophomore, Mount Pleasant) is tied for 14th at 80-37-117 and Drew Rogers (freshman, Sullivan, Ill.) is 39th at 87-41—126.

“We had a lot of bright spots but also a few bad holes,” Blasi said. “Drake Hamilton got off to a really nice start and Lucas Wendel and Harold Dobernecker played well. Harold was 1-over in his first round but had a triple bogey on No. 17 and he played even par on the last nine until he had an 8 on No. 8. But he still had a great round. “

Blasi said the course is deceptive.

“It’s the kind of course where you can’t lose your concentration because there’s trouble on all the holes,” he said. “If you lose your concentration even a little bit, you can make a big number.”

Teams start play on the back nine Friday before the final 18 holes and a strong start could be Pivotal, Blasi said.

“That will be important to get back on track,” he said. “I think we’ll be right in the mix.”

Play begins Friday at 9 am with Central’s first tee time at 10:40 am

The tourney Winner gains an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Championships May 10-13 at Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida.

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