|ISU golfers battle weather at opener|
|Written by Matt Gullette, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Tuesday, 09 September 2008 18:00|
After enduring a four-and-a-half hour rain delay, play finally commenced for ISU golfers Monday afternoon at the ArborLinks Golf Course in Nebraska City, Neb., as the Fairway Invitational first-round comes to a close.
The weather was a challenge for ISU in the first round of the Fairway Invitational as the Redbirds finished seventh place with a 15-over par 303.
The tournament, which hosts a total of 12 teams (four of them representing the Missouri Valley Conference), officially marks the beginning of the men's 2008 season.
Despite the wet conditions, Head Coach Ray Kralis is confident his team will bounce back in the second round.
"The weather won today, but we'll be ready tomorrow and I expect we'll do quite well," said Kralis.
After having such a strong summer, we came into the tournament with high expectations and put a little bit of [unneeded] pressure on ourselves."
Leading the 'Birds in the first round, senior Ben Murphy, junior Tommy Bliefnick and sophomore Jeff Kellen all tied for 19th-place shooting a 3-over par 75.
Will Cullen, who entered the tournament as an individual, shot a 5-over par 77 and is currently tied for 34th place. Kyle Bragg stands in 42nd place after tallying a 6-over par 78. Capping off the Redbird line-up, Joe Emerich ended the first round with a 7-over par 79.
Even though the Redbirds got off to a slow start, Kralis was impressed with their ability to play through the conditions.
"[Ben] Murphy and [Jeff] Kellen both got off to rocky starts but I was proud of how they battled back and competed," Kralis said.
The tournament was originally supposed to be 54 total holes with 36 Monday and 18 Tuesday. However, because of the weather, the total was reduced to 36, with the golfers shooting 18 holes each day.
The Redbirds are currently in seventh place, but they still managed to out shoot the fellow MVC teams Drake (304) and Creighton (320). Western Illinois currently leads the event after one-round scoring a 2-over par 290.
Individually, Texas Pan American's Shane Pearce carded the best first-round score with a 4-under par 68.
Second round action was played Tuesday.