No. 2 Bulldogs are 10 back after Round 1

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, May 24, 2023

by MGCCC Sports Information

PLYMOUTH, Ind. — No. 2 Mississippi Gulf Coast didn’t take full advantage of prime weather and course conditions during the first round of the NJCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championship, but the Bulldogs are still in position to challenge for the top spot.


Gulf Coast shot 3-over 291 and are in sixth place, 10 shots behind No. 1 South Mountain. Alessio Graziani (So., Johannesburg, South Africa/Beaulieu College) shot 2-under, and Chase Kaiser (So., Natchez/Cathedral) was another shot back to lead the squad on Swan Lake Resort’s Black Course.


“I thought we got off to a really good start, but unfortunately, we didn’t take advantage on some of the scoreable holes,” Gulf Coast coach Brad Thornton said. “Especially with the conditions today getting off early, there wasn’t any wind to be a factor and the course was in great shape.”


South Mountain leads after shooting 7-under. Parkland is two shots back in second, with Kirkwood, Roane State and Heartland the other teams in front of Gulf Coast.


Graziani is tied for 11th, and Kaiser is tied for 17th.


The Bulldogs were 4-under through five holes but scuffled over the next six holes. Graziani and Jackson Wise (Fr., Pontotoc/North Pontotoc) birdied No. 18 to give them a final lift.


Graziani’s recipe for success was a simple one.


“He was in the fairway more than anybody else, and that usually leads to low scores,” Thornton said. “He was able to roll the ball pretty well today, so I like what I saw from him.”


Kaiser was 3-under through four and hit the same rough patch most of his teammates did through 10. He said he was a foot into the rough on the fairway several times throughout the round.


“He’s feeling really good,” Thornton said. “Unfortunately, he was about three or four feet away from saving a few shots one way or the other. He couldn’t get a few putts to fall, but I think his game is trending in the right direction. I expect some good numbers from him coming down the stretch.”


Heartland’s Mason Minkel fired a 9-under 63 to lead the individual standings. Graziani is tied for 11th, and Kaiser is tied for 17th.


Gulf Coast is in better shape than last year when the Bulldogs were 17 back after the first round. They fought their way back to finish second. The hill to climb this year is also steep, but it’s possible.


“We were able to grind out a decent round,” Thornton said. “It’ll give us an opportunity over the next 54 holes to make a move.”


Team Scores

Team                                        Score

  1. South Mountain                     281 (-7)
  2. Parkland                       283 (-5)
  3. Kirkwood                       284 (-4)
  4. Roane State                          285 (-3)
  5. Heartland                      287 (-1)
  6. Gulf Coast                          291 (+3)
  7. Des Moines Area                   292 (+4)

T8. Cleveland State                    293 (+5)

T8. Walters State                       293 (+5)

  1. Meridian                       297 (+9)
  2. Glendale                       299 (+11)

T12. Iowa Lakes                        304 (+16)

T12. Alexandria Tech                304 (+16)

T14. Highland                           308 (+20)

T14. Northeast Mississippi         308 (+20)

  1. Grand Rapids                       314 (+26)
  2. Seminole State                     315 (+27)
  3. Illinois Central                     316 (+28)
  4. Muskegon                       317 (+29)
  5. Murray State                        320 (+32)
  6. Black Hawk                         326 (+38)
  7. Glen Oaks                           330 (+42)

MGCCC Scores

Player                                       Score

T11. Alessio Graziani                70 (-2)

T17. Chase Kaiser                      71 (-1)

T38. Jackson Wise                     74 (+2)

T57. Will Burnham                    76 (+4)

T68. Andrew Zielinski               77 (+5)



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