Jessup Golf to face a tough field at The Contender

Team visits with Mrs. Byron Nelson
By: Robert Marten for The News Messenger/Placer Herald
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IRVING, Texas – Southern thunderstorms held the competition at the 2016 NAIA Contender golf tournament to just one round this week, but it was enough for Jessup to place eighth out of 17 teams in a tournament featuring four top 10 programs.

The tournament attempted to hold a second round of golf on the first day, but had to pause as the sun descended below the Texas horizon. The next day, teams showed and warmed up but a torrential downpour prevented further play in the tournament.

The Warriors’ Dale Thomas shot a career low 70 in the singular round, recording the low round for the Warrior team. Thomas tied for sixth with the son of professional golfer Scott Verplank in the 100-player field.

Freshman Clark Pietromonaco (Placer High) started the round with a double bogey, bogey in the first two holes, but played a great round from then on finishing tied for 13th in the tournament with a two-over par score of 73.

Arick Koeth (Folsom) was right on the heels of Pietromonaco, keeping a tight grouping amongst the top three scores for Jessup; he turned in a card of 74 through 18 holes. John Greco struggled through the first-round weather and delays, shooting an opening round of 77.

“While we were disappointed we didn’t get a chance to complete the event, I was proud of the way they fought back in the canceled second round,” said head golf coach Tim Hovancsek. “It’s over now and we are getting ready for another top tiered event at The Battle at Primm.”

Despite the limited golf play, the Warriors enjoyed a once in a lifetime opportunity when Peggy Nelson, wife of the late Golf Legend Byron Nelson, invited the Jessup team to her home for dinner. The Warrior team enjoyed Bab’s Famous Chicken, stories about Byron, and viewing the extensive trophy collection he had amassed.

“This was an immensely kind and thoughtful gesture by Mrs. Nelson,” said Hovancsek. “The golf history stored in that home is unbelievable; we adored visiting with Mrs. Nelson. It will certainly be an experience none of us will soon forget.”

While the Warriors were almost certainly disappointed to have been unable to continue play at The Contender and will have to wait out a week before their next tournament, The Battle at Primm, hosted by Grand View University March 22-24.

William Jessup University is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC). For additional information regarding Jessup Athletics, visit; visit for more information on William Jessup University. Follow Jessup Athletics on social media: William Jessup University Athletics (Facebook), @WJUSports (Twitter), and @JessupAthletics (Instagram, and Snapchat).