The ACU golf team had a tough first day at the Jim West Intercollegiate tournament in Bastrop. They finished Monday 13th in the 15-team field.
Senior Corbin Renner, the team’s top player, was forced to withdraw after the first two rounds because of a back injury. Renner informed the team of his decision via text message Monday night.
“I hate that I cannot be out their with you guys,” Renner texted. “It’s killing me.”
Renner opened up the tournament with the team’s best round of the day with a 72. His back began to give him trouble in the second round, and he carded a 76.
Junior Dillon Vaughn actually ended the first day with the team’s best two-round score with pair of 73s. He is eight strokes behind his Southland opponent Blake Pugh from Stephen F. Austin and is tied for 24th overall.
Freshmen Clarke Hudgins shot a 77 and a 75, and sophomore Kyle Karnei shot back-to-back 77s. Junior Brandon Wilkins carded an 82 and an 81.
“The course is extremely long, and right now that is an adjustment for us,” Karnei said. “The greens are playing about like we are used to, so we need to come out and just hit the ball better tomorrow.”
Everyone will need to improve to make up for the loss of Renner. With only four players remaining in the tournament, every Wildcat’s score will count in the final round.
The ‘Cats are facing stiff competition in their final tune up for the Southland Conference Championships on April 20th. Houston Baptist, Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston State and Central Arkansas are all in the field this week and will also be joining ACU at the conference tournament. All four of those schools currently lead the Wildcats.
The Jim West Intercollegiate is a two horse race going into the final round. Saint Mary’s leads everyone at six under par, but Sam Houston State is only a stroke back at five under par. Everyone else is over par as a team.
“These all very competitive teams,” Karnei said. “It gives us an idea of what to expect at conference, and it’s clear we need to elevate our game.”