CENTRAL

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SILVIS, ILL. — Fielding a freshman-dominated lineup in the season’s opening meet, the Central College men’s golf team showed flashes of promise at the Black Hawk Invitational Tuesday.

Competing at the challenging TPC Deere Run, site of the PGA’s Quad-City Open, the young Dutch carded 320. Team results were not available.

Central lost its entire five-man varsity lineup from last year and coach Mel Blasi noted that even the team’s upperclass players haven’t competed since last October as the spring season was canceled.

Harold Dobernecker (freshman, Nevada) shot 75 in his collegiate debut.

“I was really happy with how Harold played,” Blasi said. “From tee to green he played better than 75. He had a really good ball-striking day.”

Lucas Wendel (sophomore, LeClaire, Pleasant Valley HS) shot 81, Kyle Gabos (sophomore, Plymouth, Minn., Maple Grove HS) and Matt Briggs (freshman, Burlington, Notre Dame HS) shot 82 and John Oltman (freshman, Pella) had 84.

“Matt Briggs played very well on the front nine,” Blasi said. “He had a 36 but had a rough back nine.”

Central had three at-large entrants. Mitch McComber (senior, Redlands, Calif., Citrus Valley HS) shot 75, Nic Kaufman (freshman, Victoria, Minn., Chanhassen HS) had 78 and Dustin Haines (sophomore, Sigourney) shot 96.

Blasi said the Dutch need time on the course.

“We really haven’t practiced a lot,” he said.

“But we got to play a great golf course. It was a really good experience to play a PGA course and it was in great shape. I’ve never seen it this good.”

The short game will be the team’s focus throughout the remainder of the fall.

“We’re not very good wedge players,” Blasi said. “There will be a lot more practice on shots from 100 yards in in the next six weeks. We’re much better than we showed today.”

Central makes its home debut Friday and Saturday with the Ryerson Fall Classic. Action begins with a shotgun start Friday at 1 p.m. and Saturday at 8:30 a.m. The Dutch were first in a nine-team field at the tourney last fall. This year’s field will be limited to Wartburg College, Simpson College and Bellevue University (Neb.), a highly competitive NAIA squad.

The event is named for Norman “Doc” Ryerson, an education faculty member who helped establish Central’s powerful men’s golf tradition as head coach from 1975-86, with nine Iowa Conference championships and 10 NCAA Division III tournament berths.

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