by Zack Fulkerson, Reporter
Coming off of a second-place finish in Bloomington, Ind., last weekend at the Hoosier Invitational, the Illinois State men’s golf team rallied its way to another top-five finish on Monday and Tuesday at the Kemper Intercollegiate Tournament at Northwestern. The Redbirds finished the tournament with a team score of 881 (298-292-291), good for third place to close out play on Tuesday.
“I am glad to see that our team finished the season on a strong note,” ISU head coach Ray Kralis said. “The guys continued to deliver throughout the tournament and were able to build momentum heading into the MVC championships in the upcoming weeks.”
The Kemper Intercollegiate Tournament took place at the award-winning par-72 Tom Fazio Golf Course at The Glen Club in Glenview, Ill. Host Northwestern won the 14-team tournament, with a three-round score of 844. Following Northwestern was Ohio State, carding a score of 856. Rounding out the top-five were St. John’s (887) and DePaul (890), respectively.
Weather conditions posed problems for ISU through the first day of play, but Kralis was happy with the team’s ability to overcome the strong winds and heavy rain to maintain its position on the leaderboard.
“Playing conditions were very difficult,” Kralis said. “We got off to a slow start collectively on the first five or six holes of [day one] and dug ourselves a little bit of a hole, but the guys really battled their way out.”
Junior Parker Freiburg and senior Ricky Hearden both had big rounds through day one to maintain their team’s position.
“After a tough start, the team had a great second round with
[Freiburg’s] 69 and [Hearden’s] 72.” Kralis said. “I loved the way the
Junior Wils Hawn led the Redbirds after two days of play, firing a
score of 219 (72-74-73) in three rounds. Hawn finished the tournament
tied for seventh place, five strokes out of the top-five on the
individual leaderboard. Freshman Tyler Gentilella finished one stroke
out of the top-10 with a three-round score of 221 (73-77-71). Gentiella
finished tied for 12th as an individual.
“Strong showing from Wils, finishing in the top-10, battling tough
weather conditions, was great to see,” Kralis said. “It was an overall
team effort and I am pleased to see the development of our guys and the
direction that this program is moving.”
Senior Ricky Hearden carded a three-round score of 222 (77-72-73),
one stroke better than junior Parker Freiburg, who finished with a
tournament score of 223 (79-69-75). Rounding out the lineup for ISU was
senior Matt Solis who tallied a three-round score of 231 (76-81-74) to
end the regular season. Senior Matt Hageman competed as an individual
and shot for a score of 235 (79-78-78).
The Redbirds will play their final tournament of the year beginning
April 29 at Cape Girardeau, Mo., as they take on nine foes for the
Missouri Valley Conference title.