BURLINGTON, Iowa — After the biggest win in Eastern Arizona College’s golf history, the Gila Monsters puttered out at Spirit Hollow Golf Course in Burlington, Iowa and came in 18th place at the 2014 Division I Men’s National Championship.
EAC was coming off a 16-stroke win at the Regional Championship with Ryan Gaske taking the individual title as well. Gaske finished tied for 20th place at nationals.
“The weather was atrocious and we were not ready for frigid conditions,“ EAC coach Sandy Davis said. “It was in the low 50s and raw and very windy every day. The rough was 3 to 4 inches and was set up very strong. We were ready for the longer courses.”
The EAC team total was 1,278 strokes for four days of play as compared to the eventual national champions, Indian Hills, with an 1,190-stroke total. Scottsdale made a turnaround from the regional and placed 12th with 1,253 strokes. Finally, Pima CC came in 19th behind EAC with 1,290.
Gaske again proved to be EAC’S top striker with a four-day total of 306. He shot 79-75-74-78 for +18. Hayes Dupree tied for 43rd with 313 for +25. He shot 80-77-79-77. Taylor Cherry shot a 333 for a tie at 74th with 81-79-81-92 for +45. Gabrielle Ortega tied at 104th with a 341 with 82-87-87-85 for +53, and Griffin Kunko came in 109th with 351 with 97-83-90-81. “Kunko hurt his wrist,” Davis said. “So we were kind of behind the eight ball with our third man hurt.” The course was a par 72 at 7,360 yards.
The final ranking for the individuals nationally this year was Gaske 73.41 at 56th, Dupree with 74.57 for 60th and Kunko a 76.12 for 68th. “I was really proud of the kids,” Davis said. “They did everything I asked. We even increased the team’s GPA.”
Gaske as a freshman was named to the second team Ping All-American, coach Sandy Davis was named District Coach of the Year, and Greg Dobbins was named EAC’s Academic Athlete with the highest GPA.
Story by Jay David Murphy
Eastern Arizona Courier