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MSU Billings men lead 16 teams at Nighthawk Invitational

MSUB Kaercher 22.png
Posted at 7:27 AM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 09:27:07-05

(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)

LIVERMORE, Calif. – Sitting in first place among 16 teams after the opening round of the Northwest Nazarene University Nighthawk Invitational on Monday at Poppy Ridge Golf Course, the Montana State University Billings men’s golf team rode stellar performances from its seniors to open the tournament.

MSUB shot a score of 296 as a team, and has a one-stroke lead over second-place Cal State East Bay with one round left to play on Tuesday. “This was a super round today out of our men,” said MSUB head coach Adam Buie, after the team’s fourth-lowest round of the year. “We have the lead after today even with having a tough draw playing in more wind than the late groups. We practice in tough conditions all the time to prepare for these situations, and we are mentally ready for it. We are looking to go out tomorrow and post another good number.”

Senior Riley Kaercher led the way on the par-72, 6,958-yard course, firing a 1-under-par 71 to sit in a tie for second place among the field of 88 competitors. Kaercher had just two bogeys on the day, which he offset with three birdies. After making both bogeys among his first seven holes, the fifth-year senior rattled off 11 consecutive holes at 1-under par. “The conditions were really tough today with strong gusts,” said Kaercher. “I’m really happy with my score given how I didn’t hit my driver very well, and my short game saved me a lot of strokes today. I’m looking forward to the challenge tomorrow.”

Right behind Kaercher was fellow fifth-year senior Caleb Trost, who is in a tie for fourth place after shooting an even-par 72. Trost overcame a pair of bogeys on the front-nine, and got the strokes back with two birdies on a 2-under-par 34 on the back nine. “Today was a grind,” said Trost. “The conditions were pretty windy, so I was just out there trying to make as few mistakes as I could. I’d say my best shot of the day was an approach I hit into 14 where I hit a driver to 15 feet to set up an easy birdie.”

Senior Riley Lawrence battled through adversity early in his round and, like Trost and Kaercher, finished strong at even-par over his final 10 holes of the day. Lawrence shot a 4-over-par 76 on Monday, and is in a tie for 29th place.

Dawson Strobel and Kevin Kolb each had an eagle on Monday, which highlighted their respective rounds. Strobel shot a 77 and is in a tie for 40th, while Kolb finished with an 81 to sit in a tie for 61st. Strobel also had three birdies throughout his round, while Kolb made 12 pars on the day.

Kaercher trails only Keita Okada of Hawaii Pacific, who shot a tournament-best 3-under-par 69 his first time through the course. Kaercher is in a tie with Anson pan of Academy of Art, who also notched a 71 on Monday.

The tournament concludes Tuesday with the second and final round scheduled to tee off at 8 a.m. Pacific. Live scoring will be available online here. [results.golfstat.com]

Northwest Nazarene University Nighthawks Invitational

Round 1 Results – March 7, 2022

Poppy Ridge Golf Course – Livermore, California

Team – 1. MSU Billings, 296. Individuals – 1. Keita Okada, Hawaii Pacific, 69; T2. Riley Kaercher, MSUB, 71; T4. Caleb Trost, MSUB, 72; T29. Riley Lawrence, MSUB, 76; T40. Dawson Strobel, MSUB, 77; T61. Kevin Kolb, MSUB, 81.