A pair of 72s in the second and third rounds not only lifted Matt Vineer to the individual championship of the Region IX golf tournament, they helped Southeast Community College to its sixth consecutive regional title.
The Storm, which shot 905 during the three-round tournament at Scottsbluff Country Club Tuesday and Wednesday, qualified for the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II national tournament May 18-21 at Palm Valley Golf Course in Goodyear, Ariz., for the sixth consecutive year. Last year, the Storm took 15th place.
“It’s a good run,” Storm Coach Bill Campbell said of the consecutive trips to nationals. “And it’s a good bunch of kids, in the classroom and on the course. It’s going to be tough to let loose of this (sophomore) group.”
Vineer, a sophomore from England, shot an opening-round 75, which was third among Storm players. He rallied with a pair of 72s in rounds two and three to finish with a three-day total 219, good for first place.
“That’s pretty consistent golf,” Campbell said. “That 72 was in some windy conditions. On the back (nine) he had eight pars and a birdie.”
Adam Dredge, a sophomore from Valentine, finished fourth overall with a 226, while teammate John Johnson, a freshman from Seward, was fifth at 228.
“It’s a good time for him to get hot,” Campbell said of Johnson.
SCC’s Luke Benford, a sophomore from England and the top player on the team early in the season, put together consistent rounds, but they each were 78, good for 234.
“Seventy-eight, 78, 78 is pretty good golf,” Campbell said. “He hung in there. He had some bad breaks, but he hung in there.”
Paul Simmons, a sophomore from South Africa, rounded out SCC scoring with a 236.
The Storm had little competition during the three-day tourney. Central Community College was second at 939, while Miles Community College of Montana was third at 962. Miles had two of the top five individual scores.
“We were ready to go and focused,” Campbell said. “I think the players felt a little pressure from Central, having lost to them earlier in the season. To shoot 300 and 301 under tough conditions was good golf. They eliminated any doubt about who was the best team.”
Play consisted of 36 holes Tuesday and 18 on Wednesday.
Campbell said his veteran team should not be shell-shocked when it arrives in Arizona for nationals.
“This is a bunch that knows what it’s going to take,” Campbell said. “Four rounds of 300 probably won’t get you into the top 10. One of those days, we’ll have to dip down into the 290s.”
Matt Vineer 75-72-72-219
Adam Dredge 74-74-78-226
John Johnson 74-77-77-228
Luke Benford 78-78-78-234
Paul Simmons 77-82-77-236