CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. — The final nine holes of Thursday's third round at the NJCAA Division III Golf Championships stalled the momentum of the Madison College men's golf team, which remained in 10th place heading into Friday's final round on the Lake Course at Chautauqua Golf Club.
Freshman Connor Rufenacht was the only player to improve his score from Round 2 to Round 3 while fellow freshman Joe Cayer was able to keep himself in contention for a possible top-five finish.
As a team, the WolfPack shot 26-over 170 on the front nine and then added a 34-over 178 on the back nine to finish at 60-over 348, pushing its 54-hole total to 1,046. Madison College remains seven shots ahead of Nassau Community College (N.Y.) in 11th place and now trails ninth place Northampton Community College (Pa.) by 27 strokes.
After back-to-back rounds of 76, Cayer shot an 8-over-par 80, mostly the result of a 6-over 43 on the back nine, and is tied with two others for eighth place at 16-over-par 232. The former Madison La Follette golfer carded one birdie to boost his tournament total to eight, the second most of any player in the field. He also maintains the third best scoring average on par-5s at 4.80 and is among the top 15 in par-4 scoring
Cayer trails Trey Capps of Sandhills Community College (N.C.) by 12 shots as Capps sits atop the leaderboard at four-over-par 220. Dusty Watts from Georgia Military College is two strokes back at 222.
Rufenacht, a former Verona athlete, improved his score for the second straight day with a 9-over 81. He opened with a 39 on the front and closed with a 42 to put his three-day total at 255 and move from 65th to 59th overall.
Reedsburg native Harrison Ernstmeyer carded his second 92 of the week after going 46-46. Despite improving as the day went on, the freshman dropped four spots to 79th overall with a 273 (+57)
Cole Salzman, a freshman from Lodi, enjoyed his best opening nine with a 43, but struggled to a 14-over-par 51 on the back to sign off on a final score of plus-23 95. He sits in 83rd place for a third straight day at 286 (+70).
After losing the lead in the team race following the second round, Sandhills CC registered a tournament-best 293 to improve by 23 shots and regain the top spot ahead of Georgia Military College, 923-934. Minnesota State Community & Technical College remains within reach in third at 937.