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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.