(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
TURLOCK, Calif. – Dawson Strobel shot a 3-under-par 69 on Tuesday at Turlock Golf & Country Club, highlighting the Montana State University Billings men’s golf team’s performance at the Hanny Stanislaus Invitational.
Strobel wrapped up the three-round event with a score of 220 (77-74-69), tying for 21st place among the field of 83 competitors. “Overall my driver was the most comfortable club in my bag, which is good because this course was pretty narrow throughout,” Strobel said on the par-72, 6,668-yard layout. “If you can’t hit the fairway, it makes it tough to go for any greens. I think that was pretty crucial to a good day.”
The Yellowjackets steadily improved throughout the tournament, shaking off a 309 in Round 1 Monday and breaking 300 in each of their final two rounds. MSUB took 11th place among the 15 teams competing, with a three-round total of 898 (309-299-290). “We set a goal for 290 today and we went out and achieved it,” said MSUB head coach Adam Buie after the team’s lowest single-round total of the 2021-22 season. “It was a really good round to build momentum into Phoenix.”
Strobel finished the week with seven birdies and had one of the Yellowjackets’ two eagles during the tournament. Strobel’s first big shot of the day came on the par-4, 356-yard 14th hole, when he reached for his 9-iron for a 145-yard approach shot and stuck it to seven feet before making the birdie putt. Strobel saved another stroke on his penultimate hole of the tournament, the par-4, 378-yard 10th. Facing a 117-yard approach, Strobel nudged a 54-degree wedge inside of 10 feet and knocked down his seventh and final birdie putt. “On number 14 I was worried it was going to be too much, but the air was still pretty heavy from the fog,” said Strobel, who started his round at 8:30 a.m. “That and 10 were nice little add-ones to the scorecard for sure.”
Strobel’s eagle came on the par-5, 485-yard 16th hole, as he went with a 6-iron after a 300-yard drive. His lofted approach shot from 188 yards and uphill again landed inside of 10 feet, where he saved two strokes on his way to a 3-under-par 33 on the back-nine. “I was proud of Dawson for finishing with a 69 today,” Buie said. “He has been playing some really good golf and shooting in the 60s in our qualifiers, and now he did it in a tournament.”
Senior Riley Lawrence started the day with a birdie and never looked back, on his way to a collegiate career-low 1-under-par 71 on Tuesday. Lawrence’s final round contained five birdies and four bogeys, and overall on the week he had seven birdies and also eagled the par-5 16th hole. Lawrence’s eagle presented some challenges, when he grooved his driver 280 yards but found himself facing a difficult cut shot around a tree from 208 yards. A well-struck 4-iron did the trick to place him on the green, and he knocked down a big 20-foot putt to highlight his tournament.
The senior’s top shot came on the par-5, 502-yard second, as he drilled a high 3-wood to the back of the green to set up a comfortable birdie. “The majority of my birdies were because of my putting,” said Lawrence. “Today I started hitting greens and making the birdies, which was a big change. I struggled off the tee in the first two rounds.”
Lawrence finished the event tied for 40th place, posting a three-round score of 227 (80-76-71). “This week started off rough, but I kept my head in it and continued to get better each round,” said Lawrence. “The team is trending in the right direction, and we have plenty we can improve on before conference.”
Also tying for 40th place was senior Caleb Trost, who matched Lawrence with a 227 (75-80-72). Limiting his mistakes at the event, Trost scored worse than bogey on just one of the 54 holes that he played. Saving his best round for last, Trost made two of his seven birdies on Tuesday to counteract just two bogeys en route to the 23rd round of his career at par or better. Trost finished the event strong, playing at 1-under par over his final nine holes.
Senior Riley Kaercher tied for 56th place, posting a three-round score of 231 (79-72-80). Kaercher’s best performance came in Round 2 on Monday, in which he shot an even-par 72 including three birdies and three bogeys.
Blake Finn was just two strokes behind Kaercher, shooting a three-round score of 233 (78-77-78) to tie for 60th place. Finn made seven birdies throughout the tournament, including twice on the par-4, 281-yard ninth hole during Monday’s play.
Western Washington University won the team title with a score of 866 (286-287-293), edging second-place Simon Fraser University by a single stroke. WWU’s Aidan Thain and Saint Martin’s University’s Tyler Fitchett tied for first place each with a 209, with the two settling for a draw after a four-hole playoff.
“It is exciting to see the regional rankings each week and know that we are in the running,” said Buie. “Hopefully we can keep up the good play this coming week in Arizona.”
THE BUZZ: Strobel was named the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Day…his previous collegiate career low was a 72, achieved on March 8 at the Northwest Nazarene Invitational…it was MSUB’s lowest single-round score of the season, as he topped 71s by Trost, Finn, and Kaercher earlier this year…Lawrence’s previous collegiate low was a 72, which he achieved on three previous occasions.
NEXT UP: The Yellowjacket men are back in action next week, at the RJGA Palm Valley Classic in Goodyear, Ariz. It will be the team’s final event before the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships, set for April 18-19 at the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course in Idaho.
Hanny Stanislaus Invitational
Final Results – March 29, 2022
Turlock Golf & Country Club – Turlock, California
Team – 1. Western Washington, 866 (286-287-293); 11. MSU Billings, 898 (309-299-290). Individuals – T1. *Tyler Fitchett, Saint Martin’s, 209 (70-69-70); T1. *Aidan Thain, Western Washington, 209 (69-70-70); T21. Dawson Strobel, MSUB, 220 (77-74-69); T40. Riley Lawrence, MSUB, 227 (80-76-71); T40. Caleb Trost, MSUB, 227 (75-80-72); T56. Riley Kaercher, MSUB, 231 (79-72-80); T60. Blake Finn, MSUB, 233 (78-77-78).
*-Tied for first place after four-hole playoff.