(MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS – Four rounds at par or better highlighted a successful opening day for the Montana State University Billings men’s golf team at the Yellowjacket Spring Invitational on Monday at Lake Hills Golf Club.
The ‘Jackets posted a team score of 584 on Monday, with team rounds of 297 and 287 on the par-72, 6,802-yard course layout. “It was a good day for our guys,” said MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin. “I was happy to see them register an under-par team round in the afternoon, and to improve by 10 shots. The last couple of tournaments on the 36-hole day, our second-round scores were higher, so it was nice to see today’s improvement. As a team, our short game was much improved from the last time we competed a couple of weeks ago.”
Caleb Stetzner and Caleb Trost paced the ‘Jackets, and are tied for third place after each notching a two-round total of 144. Stetzner reached the even-par mark with tremendous consistency, as he had seven birdies and nothing worse than a bogey in back-to-back rounds of 72. The sophomore’s top shot of the day came on his final hole, when wind gusts of 35-40 miles per hour arose instantly into the faces of the golfers. After his tee shot, Stetzner pulled the driver back out and ripped a shot off the deck and onto the green from the fairway. “Caleb Stetzner was very consistent today, making par in each round,” Woodin commented.
Trost had the best individual round score on the day for MSUB, as he made up for a 75 in Round 1 with a 3-under-par 69 in Round 2. Trost’s personal-best round of the year featured four birdies, including a chip-in from five feet off the green on the par-3, 190-yard fourth hole.
“A sub-70 round is always great, and to see Caleb improve by six shots is impressive,” said Woodin.
Sophomore Garrett Woodin enters Tuesday’s final round in a tie for fifth place, after posting a 2-over-par 146 on Monday. Woodin started the day with a 2-over-par 74, in a round that featured four birdies. The biggest one came on the par-4, 448-yard 15th hole, where Woodin drained a 35-foot putt to save a stroke. He worked his score down to even-par his second time through the course with five birdies, and had just one double bogey overall on the day. “Garrett played well in Round 2,” said Woodin on the performance of his son. “He had an out-of-bounds on Hole 10 but other than that he was very solid.”
Like Trost, freshman Jayd Dion showed marked improvement between rounds and finished the day in a tie for eighth place with a 147. After notching a 77 in the opening 18 holes, Dion turned in his best performance of the year with a 2-under-par 70 in the second round. Dion’s stellar round featured four birdies, as well as an eagle on the par-5, 536-yard 10th hole. Dion blasted a 3-wood from 265 yards out on his second shot to around eight feet, and sank the putt to save two strokes.
“I was also happy with the improvement by Jayd,” Woodin said. “It was great to see him post his first under-par round, and it was led by a hot start on his second round when he was four-under after his first five holes.”
Riley Kaercher is in 14th place after the opening round, as he shot a two-round total of 150. Kaercher contributed to MSUB’s 10-stroke improvement between rounds, as he cut down from a 76 to match his personal season-best with a 74 his second time. Kaercher’s top birdie Monday was a 100-yard wedge shot that he landed within a foot on the par-4, 390-yard 16th hole.
Scott Larson was just one stroke behind, in 15th place after shooting a 151. Larson made it six-for-six in golfers improving between rounds, going from a 77 to a 74. Larson had MSUB’s other eagle on Monday, as he chipped in from around five feet off the green on the par-5, 550-yard second hole.
The University of Jamestown leads the team race, after carding a two-round score of 581 (294-287). UJ’s Nathan Kapaun and Austin Rene are tied for first place, after each player shot a 2-under-par 142 on Monday. Kapaun had the top individual round on Day 1, with a 5-under-par 67 his second time through the course.
THE BUZZ: Trost was selected as the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Day…MSUB’s 287 in Round 2 was two strokes off its top team single-round score this year…Trost topped his personal best of 70 by a single stroke.
COMING UP: The tournament concludes on Tuesday morning with a 9 a.m. shotgun start in the third and final round. MSUB will play its final round before the 2018 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships, running April 23-24 at the Coeur d’Alene Resort.
Yellowjacket Spring Invitational
Day 1 Results | April 16, 2018
Lake Hills Golf Club | Billings, MT
Team – 1. University of Jamestown, 581 (294-287); 2. MSU Billings, 584 (297-287). Individual – T1. Nathan Kapaun, UJ, 142 (75-67); T1. Austin Rene, UJ, 142 (70-72); T3. Caleb Stetzner, MSUB, 144 (72-72); T3. Caleb Trost, MSUB, 144 (75-69); T5. Garrett Woodin, MSUB, 146 (74-72); T8. Jayd Dion, MSUB (Ind.), 147 (77-70); 14. Riley Kaercher, MSUB, 150 (76-74); 15. Scott Larson, MSUB, 151 (77-74).