The Fort Lewis College golf teams concluded the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships on Tuesday at Ocotillo Golf Resort in Chandler, Arizona, as the men’s team finished in ninth out of 10 teams while the women’s team tied for ninth out of 13 schools.
The men shot a three-round total of 28-over-par 880 with rounds of 301, 292 and 287. The women shot a 123-over 987 through three rounds and had scores of 326, 336 and 325.
“I am so proud of how we competed these last few days,” said FLC head coach Jim Foltz. “They’ve come a long way since last fall, and I am grateful that they stuck with what they believed in, which was each other. ... I’d say the course played extremely tough, particularly for the ladies, and you had to carry the shots or otherwise they were in the water. We didn’t dig ourselves too deep a hole from round to round and just kept battling.”
Colorado School of Mines won the men’s conference tournament by one stroke, as the Orediggers shot an 826, while the Dixie State Trailblazers shot an 827 and Colorado Mesa University was third with an 846.
Dixie State’s Nicklaus Britt shot 13 under to win the individual title two shots clear of fellow Trailblazer Spencer Wallace.
Colorado State University-Pueblo won the women’s team title in convincing fashion, as the ThunderWolves led the field by 18-strokes with an 895. Dixie State was second with a 913, while Colorado Christian University rounded out the top-three and was one stroke behind the Trailblazers with a 914.
Orakorm Thirayatorn also of CSU-Pueblo, finished atop the women’s field with a 1-over 217 to win by three strokes.
On the men’s side, Austin Lienemann was the highest finisher for FLC. He shot a three-day total of 4-over 217, which was tied for 23rd. He followed a first-round 78 and bounced back with a 5-under 66 in the second round. He wrapped up Tuesday with a 73.
“Austin was big for us and rebounded really well after the first day,” Foltz said. “He was ready to go from the get-go, and he’s only a junior, so we’ll get him back next year and he’s ready for a big senior year. Darren Edwards and Tyler Blohm were also big for us, and they’re another two to look out for and have shown that if they can be consistent in their game, they’ll be right up there.”
Blohm and Edwards tied for 34th when they each carded an 8-over 221. Rounding out the scoring for FLC was Jack Call, who shot a 15-over 228 to tie for 43rd, while Eric Neal was one stroke behind and at 16-over 229, which was 46th.
On the women’s side, sophomore Sophie Schwartz was the best finisher for FLC, as she tied for 30th with a three-day total of 22-over 238 with rounds of 78, 81 and 79. Isabella Martinez was second for FLC with a 27-over 243.
“Sophie was great and really solid for us, but Isabella, I’ve been coaching her since her freshman year, and I think this was one of the best and most consistent tournaments she’s had for us,” Foltz said. “She’s really finished her final year strong.”
Summer Vigil was hoping to qualify for the NCAA Regional tournament as an individual but was unable to find her form from two weeks ago when she tied for first at the Mustang Intercollegiate. Vigil shot a 243 with rounds of 82, 88 and 80.
“I thought she had a good shot of going to regionals if she had another strong tournament, but she had a tough time of it out there,” Foltz said. “We’ve gotta keep that consistency up for next season because when she’s on, she’s on. She’ll be motivated by this and I think will really get after it next season.”
Rounding out FLC’s scoring was Amanda Westrick, who shot a 42-over 258, and Emilia Manntz, who shot a 58-over 274.
Foltz said he is already looking forward to the opening tournament next fall for Fort Lewis golf, and believes that this season was a building block for the future.
“We’ve got a lot to look forward to, and so many of both our men’s and women’s players are returning for next year,” Foltz said. “(Assistant coach) Devin Schreiner has been a great addition, and I’m looking forward to our new recruits coming, as well. This program has come a long way from where it once was, and there’s a lot to be excited about moving forward.”