St. George, Utah -- A day after being the only Fighting Hawk to shoot in the 70's, junior Jeremy Kirk was joined by three of his teammates as the North Dakota men's golf team improved its score by 21 strokes in final round action at the Pizza Hut-Pat Hicks Invitational. Kirk registered his second-consecutive 74 (+2) and was joined on that number by senior captain Jack McClintock, whose 13-stroke improvement from Monday's opening round, was tops in the 54-player field. McClintock also led the team with three birdies in his final round.
"I was very impressed with our mentality and the way we fought back during the second round," UND head coach Matt Stricker said. "I think the way we came back and improved our score will be a good stepping stone for us as we get ready to compete again next week in Louisiana."
Juniors Ryan Riihinen (76; +4) and Jordan Smith (79; +7) rounded out the scoring quartet for the Fighting Hawks as they shot a 303 (+15) after opening with a 324 (+36). Riihinen was eight strokes better, while Smith shaved one shot off his first-round score. The 21-stroke improvement was also tops in the nine-team field and the Fighting Hawks' 303 was seventh best on the day.
Kirk finished tied for 18th with his 144 (+4) total, giving him the best individual placing of his career (20 tournaments).
Utah Valley pulled away from Utah State to claim the team title with a 565 total (-11). The Wolverines led the Aggies by a stroke entering the day, but ended up with a nine-stroke victory thanks to a final round 284 (-4). Utah State finished with a 574 (-2), which was two strokes ahead of host Southern Utah (576; E). UVU's Aaron Yeates captured medalist honors after posting his second-consecutive 68 (-4) to finish at 136 (-8). He was two strokes ahead of SUU's Jake Vincent (138; -6) and three ahead of first-round leader Chase Lansford of Utah State (139; -5).
UND returns to action next week at the Atchafalaya Intercollegiate hosted by Nicholls State. The 54-hole event begins on Monday, Feb. 19 in Morgan City, La
Pizza Hut-Pat Hicks Invitational (First Round Results)
|1.||Utah Valley||281-284 = 565 (-11)|
|2.||Utah State||282-292 = 574 (-2)|
|3.||Southern Utah||290-286 = 576 (E)|
|4.||Weber State||292-295 = 587 (+11)|
|5.||Morehead State||298-290 = 588 (+12)|
|6.||Western Illinois||307-291 = 598 (+16)|
|7.||Farleigh Dickinson||304-307 = 611 (+19)|
|8.||Northern Iowa||317-306 = 623 (+31)|
|9.||North Dakota||324-303 = 627 (+35)|
UND Individuals (First Round Results)
|t18.||Jeremy Kirk||74-74 = 148 (+4)|
|t44.||Jordan Smith||80-79 = 159 (+15)|
|t47.||Ryan Riihinen||84-76 = 160 (+16)|
|54.||Jack McClintock||87-74 = 161 (+17)|
|50.||Patrick Traynor||86-87 = 173 (+29)|
-- UND --