Dixie State used a record-breaking performance to post a runner-up finish at the DSU-hosted Trailblazer/Holiday Inn Fall Regional Preview on Tuesday at The Ledges Golf Club.
The Trailblazers “A” team (290-272), which entered the final round in a tie for sixth place, broke two NCAA-era program scoring records, including the 18 hole (272, -16) and 36 hole (562, -14) marks, to vault four spots up the team leaderboard for solo second place.
DSU’s 272 score on Tuesday shattered the previous 18 hole scoring mark of 275 by three strokes. Dixie State had posted a 275 team total three times overall. The last occasion came this past April in the final round of the Western New Mexico Mustang Intercollegiate, an event the Blazers won. In addition, Dixie State’s two-round total of 562 eclipsed the previous record of 563 (282-281) set during the first and second rounds of the 2017 NCAA West/South Central Regional Championships.
Despite the Trailblazers’ record-breaking day, DSU could not overcome a strong effort by Chico State (273-278), which followed its opening round 15-under 273 with a 10-under 278 on day two to best the 27-team field with an event-winning score of minus-25 551. Simon Fraser (285-281-566, -10) finished in third place, followed by Colorado School of Mines (283-288-571, -5) in fourth and Oklahoma Christian (288-285-573; -3) in fifth.
Sophomore Brock Nielson (76-65) set the early tone for Dixie State on Tuesday as he carded four birdies and an eagle on his front nine and finished with seven birdies overall on his way to a career-low 7-under 65 to finish tied for 12th overall at minus-3 141. Nielson, who was the first Trailblazer from the “A” grouping to go out, flirted with The Ledges’ course record (63) for a time, while his 65 tied for the second-lowest 18 hole individual score in the program’s NCAA era.
Three other Trailblazers fired final round 3-under 69s, including senior Nicklaus Britt (71-69) who posted his first top-10 finish of the year in tied for ninth at minus-4 140. Sophomore Spencer Wallace (74-69) improved by five shots on his second loop to place tied for 24th at minus-1 143, while freshman Noah Schone (76-69) bounced back to tie his collegiate low round to join fellow freshman Triston Gardner (69-76) in a nine-way tie for 32nd at plus-1 145.
Meanwhile, the Trailblazers “B” team wound up 20th overall at plus-19 595 after a final round 13-over 301. Freshman Grant Wilson (73-72-145, +1) led the way with an even-par 72 to tie with Schone and Gardner for 32nd place, while freshman Cobe Reck (71-75-146, +3) tied for 41st. In all, five freshmen played in DSU’s second grouping, including Davis Heslington (72-77-149, +5) who came in tied for 69th, followed by Bradley Wade (78-77-155, +11) in tied for 110th and Gage Ekker (87-85-172, +28) in 135th place.
“I am really proud of our resilience and determination today after a bit of a rough start to the tournament [Monday],” said DSU head coach Brad Sutterfield. “Getting a 65 from our first player [Nielson] out shows we are a pretty deep team. It was fun to watch, and I am happy for the whole team for shooting a record score for our program."
Simon Fraser’s Isaac Lee (67-67) fired his second-straight 5-under 67 to claim medalist honors at minus-10 134, while Chico State’s Kelley Sullivan (67-69-136, -8) placed second.
Dixie State will close the fall portion of its 2018-19 schedule with a quick trip to the Islands to play in the 2018 Hawai'i Hilo/Dennis Rose Intercollegiate on Oct. 29-31.