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Team will finish fall season this weekend at the Motor City Invite in Dearborn

(Photo: Hillsdale College Ath­letics)

The Hillsdale College golf team led after the first round of the Midwest Regional, but it slid from first place after a poor second round.

The Chargers ulti­mately placed fifth, falling 11 strokes behind the tour­nament winner, McK­endree Uni­versity. The Uni­versity of Mis­souri-St. Louis hosted the event at Fox Run Golf Club in Eureka, Mis­souri, on Monday and Tuesday. Hillsdale’s two-day team score was 600.

The team came into the club­house after the first round with a 295, leading the field by one stroke.

Junior Liam Purslowe said the team’s first place position didn’t affect their mindset.

“I wouldn’t say we felt pres­sured to perform. We all went into the day with a really pos­itive mindset, unfor­tu­nately we didn’t play well enough,” he said. “It’s a little frus­trating being in a position to win and giving that up, but it’s the first time we’ve done so, and you can’t expect to win with poor scores in the final round.”

Hillsdale’s golfers lagged in the second round. They added 10 strokes to their first round and shot 305.

Only senior Logan Kauffman fin­ished with a lower score the second day. He shot 75 on Monday and 72 on Tuesday.

He said the team has pre­pared for high pressure sit­u­a­tions, even though they weren’t able to come through this time.

“There were various reasons we didn’t close the deal. Con­di­tions were a little harder the second day, because it was really wet from the overnight rain. The pace was slow, the pins were in tough loca­tions, and the pressure was on. But that’s all part of golf,” Kauffman said. “In the position we were in you can’t make as many mis­takes as we did.”

Junior Joel Pietila and Kauffman both shot 147 overall, tying them for sixth place as indi­viduals and recording the lowest scores for Hillsdale.

Sophomore George Roberts said the team’s spirit has deflated slightly after the tough loss, but he’s opti­mistic about the last tour­nament of the fall season this weekend.

Roberts shot a three-over-par 75 on Monday. He fin­ished with an 81 on Tuesday.

“I think the best thing for me going into next weekend would be to put my clubs up for sale on Ebay,” he said. “I lost my game at the most critical of times.”

Sophomore Andy Grayson fol­lowed his team’s lead. He shot 77 the first round and 82 the second.

Purslowe added a few strokes during his second round, as well. He shot 74 and 76.

“I played ter­rible both days in terms of ball striking, which was dis­ap­pointing from an indi­vidual stand­point,” he said.

But he has the same optimism as Roberts.

“I’m sure we can bounce back this weekend in Detroit,” he said.

The team’s last tour­nament this fall is the Motor City Invite, which will be held on Oct. 15 – 16 in Dearborn, Michigan.

Kauffman said the team will move on from last weekend’s mis­takes.

“This is a big learning expe­rience for us and def­i­nitely some­thing to push us to work harder,” he said.