by Alan Babbitt
Josh Gibson and the Hope College men's golf team are eager to earn for a return trip to Keene Trace Golf Club this spring.
Gibson and the Flying Dutchmen played this week on the site of the 2019 NCAA Division III Men's National Championship and shot a lower team score each round at the 54-hole, two-day event in Nicholasville, Kentucky, outside of Lexington.
Ninth-ranked Hope placed ninth out of 18 teams at the Division III Preview tournament with a total of 905. The Flying Dutchmen posted its best round of 293 on Tuesday after shooting 315 and 297 on Monday.
The field included 14 teams nationally ranked in the Golf Coaches Association of America poll. Second-ranked Emory University (Georgia) topped the field with a total of 866.
"It was a real privilege to be there," head coach Scott Lokers said. "We were looking forward to this tournament. We don't get many chances to go head-to-head with the best teams in the country. It was a great experience. We learned some things. We competed."
Gibson fired a 6-under-par 66 on Tuesday - the lowest individual of the day among 80 golfers. He tied for 10th in the individual standings at 3-over and was named to the all-tournament team. He lowered his score each round (80-73-66).
On Monday, golfers faced challenging conditions as remnants of Hurricane Florence provided plenty of rain and wind, particularly during the first round.
"The conditions were as difficult as any we have encountered. It rained hard. Very windy," Lokers said. "Monday afternoon, the rain stopped, and it was less challenging. This morning, the conditions were ideal."
Settecerri tied for 16th at 7-over. Goble tied for 41st at 13-over.
Senior Ben Kramer of Spring Lake, Michigan (Spring Lake) shot a 79 on Tuesday. He tied for 75th at 24-over.
Junior Noah Weigle of Grandville, Michigan (Grandville) had a final-round 83. He was one stroke behind Kramer and tied for 78th.
Hope returns to competition on Saturday with a 1 p.m. Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Jamboree hosted by Trine. The Flying Dutchmen hold a six-stroke lead after the first league jamboree.