Jessup golf tops the chart in first fall invitational

Greco leads Warriors to victory
By: Brianna Campbell for The News Messenger/Placer Herald
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KLAMATH FALLS, Ore., – William Jessup University men’s golf took the title in their first competition on the green at the Oregon Tech Fall Invitational Tuesday posting a plus-25. The Warriors were led by senior Johnnie Greco, who won the individual title at one-under par.

The team traveled up to Klamath Falls, Ore., to compete at the Running Y Ranch Golf Course, hosted by 13th ranked Oregon Tech. The invite included nine other teams from the Cascade Collegiate and Cal Pac Conferences.

After a great practice round on Sunday charting the course, studying the greens and enjoying the beautiful course, the eight Warriors were ready to hit the course for competition on Monday and Tuesday.

On deck for the first day of play were two full rounds of 18-holes by five team members; Greco, Arick Koeth and Dale Thomas along with freshmen Dominic Salomone and Hunter Newlin. Competing individually were seniors Justin Raskin and Pono Ng, along with freshman Alex DeBry.

"I really appreciate the amazing support of the Gandy's," said head coach Tim Hovancsek. "Their generosity allowed us to travel and have all eight Jessup golfers compete."

The day was long, but after 36 holes the Warriors locked their position at the top just 13 over par with a total 589 strokes by the counted competitors. Nationally recognized, Greco finished on top of the leader board going 6-under par; the closest to him was three strokes behind.

Jessup had three of its top golfers finish in the top 10 going into the final day of play.

"Coming out the gate the cold and wind was a new condition for the guys to play in," said Hovancsek. "The course played differently since the practice round was in the afternoon, but I was impressed with our guys and how they played."

Weather conditions deemed a factor on Tuesday, with the cool temperature and wind taking its toll on the golfers. Despite the distraction, the Warriors pushed through and kept their momentum to finish on top, finishing 25-over par. Oregon Tech was the closest, five strokes back.

Greco was the only player to shoot under par on Tuesday, given the weather conditions. The senior won by two shots with scores of 70-68-77 for a one-under par 215 total.

Newlin and Salomone stepped up in their first collegiate tournament and did fantastic, as Newlin had a consistent 75-75-74 finishing tied for eighth. Salomone scored 75-75-78 to tie for 16th. Rounding out the starting five was Thomas 75-82-75 (tie 25) and Koeth 83-76-74 (tie 28).

"Johnnie is our leader both spiritually and on the field, and he stepped up just like he always does," Hovancsek commented. "He is a competitor."

Jessup’s individual competitors did well on the course led by returner Raskin, who showed his old winning ways with a final round 73 to go with his 80-80 start to tie for 28th.

Playing in his first event as a Warrior, hard-working Ng started and finished strong with 77-87-78 to tie for 50th. Rounding out the squad of eight was DeBry, who struggled on day one but shot the lowest nine-hole score of the tournament going out (started on hole 10) with a 3-under 33 to finish with 75 – 244 total.

"It was nice to have all of us in the van, the camaraderie and fellowship of everyone coming together was inspiring," Hovancsek said. "It is a big step towards our goal to make nationals and getting into the top 25, where we believe we belong."

The Warriors will rest up before hitting the road in the beginning of October to play in the Interwest Wildcat Classic hosted by Chico State University at Butte Creek Golf and Country Club.