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MSU Billings men, women win Hardrocker Invite titles

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Posted at 7:21 PM, Apr 13, 2021

(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Kevin Kolb won the South Dakota Mines Hardrocker Invitational and the Montana State University Billings men’s golf team ran away with the team title on Tuesday at Arrowhead Country Club.

Kolb shot back-to-back rounds of 74 to win the event with a two-round total of 148, holding off teammate Garrett Woodin by two strokes for the title. MSUB swept the top-three individual spots, had six players in the top-10 among the field of 47 players, and had both of the teams it registered in the event take the top-two spots.

“Overall it was a really solid performance from both of our men’s teams,” said MSUB head coach Jeff Allen. “Our goal is to get better every day and we were able to do that with the scoring. It was another challenging day with the conditions, so it was great to see they were able to improve their team score. They did a good job controlling the ball and keeping it in play. Overall mental toughness was what won the tournament. It was all about staying patient, and pars were really good scores.”

Kolb and the Yellowjackets fought through a second straight day of sustained 30 mile-per-hour winds and temperatures near freezing. The redshirt freshman had just three bogeys on Tuesday on the par-71, 6,519-yard course, and finished the event with 12 consecutive pars including an even-par 35 on the back-nine to claim his first collegiate victory in his home state.

“Before the first day of the tournament, Jeff told us to accept the fact that the weather was going to suck, and to embrace the suck,” said Kolb, who is a native of Spearfish, South Dakota. “Jeff also told us that pars win tournaments and that is especially true when the conditions are tough. Those two points were my main focus for the whole tournament. Winning my first college tournament feels great and gives me a lot of confidence heading into the GNAC Championships next week.”

“We saw very consistent, solid play from Kevin,” Allen said. “He’s a south Dakota boy, so this is a nice way for him to perform in his home state. I’m happy with how he’s playing right now, how he’s managing his game, and managing the course. He hit a lot of good shots over the last two days, and he did a good job staying patient.”

Woodin matched Kolb’s consistency, shooting a pair of 75s for a two-round score of 150 to take second place. Woodin’s final round on Tuesday featured four birdies, and was highlighted by a 1-over-par 37 on the front-nine.

Riley Lawrence finished just one stroke behind Woodin, taking third place with a two-round total of 151 (75-76). The junior had only one double bogey throughout the two-day event, and finished his tournament with one birdie on Tuesday to help him post a 38 on both the front-nine and back-nine.

Dawson Strobel finished in a tie for sixth place, and shot the lowest round of the tournament by any player with a 2-over-par 73 on Tuesday. Strobel’s final round featured a pair of birdies on his way to an even-par 36 on the front-nine, and nothing worse than a bogey on his score card. “Dawson is a tough-minded player, and does a good job of staying in the moment,” Allen commented on the sophomore’s tournament-low round. “He put together a real solid round today.”

Senior Logan Martin cut off a pair of strokes between rounds, shooting a 76 on Tuesday and finishing in a tie for eighth place with a two-round score of 154 (78-76). Martin’s second round featured three birdies – all coming on an even-par 35 on the back-nine.

Also shooting a 154 over the two-day event was senior Riley Kaercher, who followed Monday’s 76 with a 78 on Tuesday. Kaercher’s final round featured a 1-over-par 36 on the back-nine, and 11 total pars on the day.

Liam O’Halloran tied for 12th place, and improved by four strokes between rounds to finish with a 156 (80-76). O’Halloran had a pair of birdies on Tuesday, including on his final hole of the event on the par-4, 398-yard second hole.

Tying for 21st place was redshirt freshman Blake Finn, who carded back-to-back scores of 80 to finish with a 160. Finn finished strong on Tuesday, with two pars and a birdie on the par-3, 198-yard fifth hole over his final three holes of the day.

Paul O’Neil took a tie for 23rd place, as all nine of MSUB’s competitors in the event finished in the top half of the overall field of players. O’Neil shot an 82 Tuesday with one birdie, and carded a two-round total of 161 (79-82).

“It shows the depth of our program,” Allen commented on the top-to-bottom success of the team. “We have a deep team, and we are competitive day in and day out. These guys are used to competing every day with each other, and that is paying off in their performances in tournaments.”

THE BUZZ: Kolb was named the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Day…Tuesday marked the second top-10 finish of the spring for both Woodin and Lawrence…it was their highest individual finish of the season.

NEXT UP: The ‘Jackets are set for the 2021 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships, which will run April 19-20 at The Home Course in DuPont, Washington.

South Dakota Mines Hardrocker Invitational

Final Results – April 13, 2021

Arrowhead Country Club – Rapid City, South Dakota

Team – 1. MSU Billings, 607 (304-303); 2. MSU Billings (B), 618 (313-305). Individual – 1. Kevin Kolb, MSUB, 148 (74-74); 2. Garrett Woodin, MSUB, 150 (75-75); 3. Riley Lawrence, MSUB (B), 151 (75-76); T6. Dawson Strobel, MSUB (B), 153 (80-73); T8. Logan Martin, MSUB (B), 154 (78-76); T8. Riley Kaercher, MSUB, 154 (76-78); T12. Liam O’Halloran, MSUB, 156 (80-76); T21. Blake Finn, MSUB (B), 160 (80-80); T23. Paul O’Neil, MSUB, 161 (79-82).

In the women's tournament, three MSUB players finishing in the top five were enough to the Yellowjackets a team title.

Avery Gill tied for first place at the event, but Rianna Garland of South Dakota Mines held off the Yellowjacket junior in a playoff hole to claim the individual title. Tierney Messmer took third place and Kinsey Irvin tied for fourth as the Yellowjackets ran away with the team crown by 19 strokes on the par-71, 5,871-yard course. “It was another solid day by Avery,” said MSUB head coach Jeff Allen. “Anything low 80s was a very solid score for the conditions, and she did a good job of continuing to hit good shots. Overall it was a solid performance from her.”

Once again battling extreme weather conditions with sustained 30 mile-per-hour winds and temperatures in the 30s, MSUB managed to shoot a team score of 349 on Tuesday and finished the event with a two-round total of 681 (332-349). “The women played well, and it was tough conditions again today,” said Allen. “They did a good job of doing the best they could out there. These were a lot higher team scores than we’d like to see but it was good enough to hang on to the win.”

Gill finished the event with a two-round total of 163, following Monday’s 80 with an 83. Gill had just one double bogey on a day where pars were hard to come by for any of the 45 players in the field, and she finished her tournament strong with a 5-over-par 41 on the front-nine to pull into a tie for first. Overall in the 36-hole event Gill made 16 pars and a birdie to lead MSUB.

Messmer, who led the event after shooting a 78 on Monday, settled for a 90 on Tuesday and wound up with a two-round score of 168. Messmer made five pars her second time through the course for her best tournament finish of the spring season.

Irvin played consistently throughout the event, following Monday’s 85 with an 86 on Tuesday for a two-round score of 171. Irvin finished the event strong with a 5-over-par 41 on the front-nine, securing her first top-five finish of the season.

Tying for 13th place was junior Jalen Wagner, who shot a 93 on Tuesday and finished with a two-round score of 182 (89-93). Wagner highlighted her second round with a birdie on the par-3, 126-yard 17th hole.

Senior Sydney Rochford showed the most improvement in MSUB’s lineup on Tuesday, cutting five strokes off her Round 1 score and finishing in a tie for 16th place with a 185 (95-90).

Freshmen Brennan Larson and Amanda King each completed their first collegiate tournament on Tuesday as well. Larson took 30th place with a two-round total of 193 (99-94), while King finished in 37th with a 204 (103-101).

THE BUZZ: Gill was named the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Day…Tuesday marked MSUB’s first team tournament win since Oct. 6, 2018 at the Saint Martin’s Invitational.

NEXT UP: The Yellowjackets will compete in the 2021 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships, running April 19-20 at The Home Course in DuPont, Washington.

South Dakota Mines Hardrocker Invitational

Final Results – April 13, 2021

Arrowhead Country Club – Rapid City, South Dakota

Team – 1. MSU Billings, 681 (332-349). Individual – T1. Rianna Garland, SD Mines, 163 (81-82)*; T1. Avery Gill, MSUB, 163 (80-83); 3. Tierney Messmer, MSUB, 168 (78-90); T4. Kinsey Irvin, MSUB, 171 (85-86); 13. Jalen Wagner, MSUB, 182 (89-93); T16. Sydney Rochford, MSUB, 185 (95-90); 30. Brennan Larson, MSUB (IND), 193 (99-94); 37. Amanda King, MSUB (IND), 204 (103-101). *-Won Playoff Hole.