By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Plymouth, Ind.---The Owens Community College men's golf team vaulted into the top five at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II National Tournament at Swan Creek Resort this afternoon after shooting its best round of the tournament at 293.
Entering today, Owens was one shot behind Illinois Central College for fifth place, but jumped them by besting their third round score by 10 strokes. If they can overtake Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College tomorrow, who they are just seven strokes behind, they will surpass the 2014 team for the program's highest finish ever.
South Mountain Community College out of Arizona shot a 278 this afternoon. Their three-round total of 852 has them 13 strokes up on second place Tyler Junior College out of Texas.
Dominic DiGiacomo (Ocean City/Ocean City, N.J.) led Owens with an even par 72, which was just one stroke higher than his tournament low of 71 set in the first round. He also birdied the third, seventh and 13th holes to match his first round birdie total. Additionally, his score is good for a 10th place tie and he has a chance at the best individual finish in program history at the national tournament.
Following DiGiacomo, the duo of Karit Kitipongpatana (St. Dominic School/Bangkok, Thailand) and Bandit Chaisuk (Nong Khai, Thailand) each continued their ascent up the individual standings with a pair of 1-over 73's today.
Kitipongpatana has now lowered his score each day of the tournament after a 79 in round one and a 75 yesterday. He is currently tied for 31st place individually at 11-over. Meanwhile, Chaisuk has done the same thing. He struggled with an 84 on the first day, but bounced back for a 77 yesterday before today's result, which has allowed him to move up to a 60th place tie individually with his 18-over total.
Dylan Holsclaw (Plainfield/Plainfield, Ill.) continued his consistent performance with a 3-over 75 this afternoon. He is now 8-over for the tournament, which is second best behind DiGiacomo. He is currently tied for 24th place.
The final Owens golfer, Will Mullins (St. Bernadette's/Bristol, United Kingdom), shot an 85 today. He is now 26-over for the tournament with one round remaining.
For tournament results as they come in tomorrow, visit here.
Today's round was halted at 12:21 p.m. due to a lightning delay. Play resumed at 1:40 p.m. after a one hour and 19 minute delay.
This is the fourth straight season Owens has made the NJCAA Division II National Tournament, and they have a chance at the program's best finish ever entering tomorrow's final round. Over the past three seasons, Owens has finished ninth in 2015, a program best fifth in 2014 and 10th in 2013. They also finished 10th in 2008 and 14th in 2006.
Tomorrow will be the final round for Owens golf as the college announced earlier this spring that the program would be suspended beginning in 2016-17 due to fiscal reasons.