After an uncharacteristic second round of play at the NAIA men’s golf national championship, University of Victoria Vikes golfer Lawren Rowe had to make up some serious ground as he enters the fourth and final day of play. Following extreme weather conditions throughout the opening two days, NAIA officials were forced to make a 36-hole cut to the top 17 teams and 40 individuals.
It was a long day as Rowe had to finish his seven remaining holes of his second round and also complete all 18 holes of his third round of the tournament. Rowe finished his second round with a 10-over, 81, but was able to regroup for the afternoon session.
Rowe teed off the back nine and seemed to find his swing again. Ranked No. 1 in the NAIA entering this week, the Victoria native shot par on his first nine holes and when he came around to the front nine he carded four bogeys, four pars and a birdie on the sixth hole. The third-year Vike finished with a 3-over, 74, for his third round score.
“There was not as much wind today and course conditions were much, much easier than yesterday,” described Vikes head coach Justin Clews. “Lawren got off to a steady start in the afternoon, making nine pars to begin his round. He missed a few birdie opportunities on his outward nine and stumbled a bit making bogeys on his 10th and 11th hole.”
“Lawren made a great birdie putt on the 15th hole after his tee shot landed in a divot. That’s kind of been the story of the week for him though, a lot of unlucky breaks at times and that was making it difficult to post a good score.”
Climbing three spots in the individual standings, Rowe still sits well back from the top of the pile, tied for 35th with a three-round score of 228.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t quite bring it in,” added Clews. “Hopefully he can make some more birdies tomorrow as it’s been a struggle to make some all week. We are too far back of the leaders now but we will look at tomorrow’s round to climb up the leaderboard and build some momentum heading into Canadians in just over a week.”
Texas Wesleyan’s Rowan Lester currently leads the field after shooting a three-round score of 213, while Cardinal Stritch still maintains the team lead, now by 13 shots. Team and individual champions will be crowned Friday as the final round of the NAIA National Championships is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. CDT.
Rowe and the rest of the Vikes men’s golf team will be preparing for the Canadian University/College national championship, May 29 to Jun. 1, hosted at Tangle Creek Golf Course in Barrie, Ont