Warriors bring home third tournament title
SALEM, Ore. – Being used to weather conditions as a factor the past couple months, the Jessup golf team was faced with a new obstacle at the Capital City Match Play Tournament when snow came into play.
But despite the flurries, the Warriors battled the final day in the head-to-head final round against host Corban University to finish on top for their third piece of hardware thus far this season.
"When we first accepted the invite, our only goal was to go up there and win the tournament," WJU head coach Tim Hovancsek said. "Which is exactly what we did, the third tournament we have won on the tournament hosts' home course.”
In match play, each player sets out with a competitor that they are solely playing against. The winner of each hole takes the point or if it is a draw no points are awarded.
The first day of play, the Warriors were seeded No. 1 and proved that was where they were going to stay. Jessup defeated Lindfield 5-0, with all guys winning their prospective matches.
Against Sierra Nevada, the nationally ranked Warriors (No. 17) proved their rating by out-playing the Eagles 4-0-1 in day two to advance to the finals.
Coming from behind in the second round, host Corban beat out Simpson to defend their home course in hopes of a victory over Jessup.
Coach Hovancsek put Hunter Newlin against Corban’s Issac Calderon. Calderon beat Newlin to put Corban one-up on the Warriors.
William Jessup senior Dominic Salomone also surrendered a point, but the match came down to Corban's No. 1 golfer, Kasey Crossland, and Jessup's Geoffrey Thomas.
In extra holes, the pair started on the challenging par-4, 447-yard eighth hole, with rain and sleet being a factor, as well. Thomas, a Utah native, hit a clear shot down the middle of the fairway to start things off. Crossland's drive just missed the trees and just missed going into the water.But Crossland recovered to tie Thomas on the hole.
Next was the par-4, 439-yard ninth hole.
Thomas hit a solid drive, but was a good 30 yards behind Crossland’s drive. But this time the Corban golfer was unable to resist the water, hitting the pond guarding the green.
Meanwhile Thomas had a 15-foot putt to win the hole and the tournament championship. Like a true Warrior, Thomas stayed calm and collected and finished strong to bring home the title.
"I just love the grit in Dale Thomas," Hovancsek said. "And with him just coming off his career round 65 the week before, I felt he was the guy to put against their No. 1 player in Crossland."
The Warriors close out the regular season at The Primm Battle, hosted by Grand View College March 19. WJU will face eight of the top-ranked teams in the country.
"I'm really proud of Dale and the way the team rallied to make our third win of the season an exciting one," Hovancsek concluded.