Sand Creek Station began the first of three championship junior college tournaments Monday and Tuesday with the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Championships.


Sand Creek Station began the first of three championship junior college tournaments Monday and Tuesday with the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Championships.

Dodge City Community College claimed the top spot of the tournament with a three-round team score of 885. The win gave the Conquistadors the overall conference title, with the results of five other regular-season tournaments added in.

Johnson County was second at 915, followed by Hutchinson at 924. In the overall standings, Hutchinson finished second, followed by Johnson County.

“We’re pleased with how the tournament went,” Dodge City coach Chris Robinson said. “We met our number one goal, and that was to win conference. Our number two goal is district and our number three goal is to get to nationals. We accomplished our first one.”

Dodge City had team scores (top four games) of 288 the first round, 307 in the second round and 290 the third round. The first and third rounds were the top two team games of the tournament.

“Yesterday, there wasn’t a lot of wind,” Robinson said. “There were a few tough pin placements, but our kids hit it in the right spot. We got a away with a few shots here and there.”

Dodge City’s Mariano Rossi was the top medalist with a one-under par 215. Rossi edged teammate Alex Tiong by a stroke. Parker Dolezal of Dodge City and Mario Funcic of Johnson County tied for third at 222.

“I had to play very well on this course,” Rossi said. “You almost have to play perfect. The wind wasn’t too bad. In Kansas, you have to play in the wind all the time.”

Rossi is a freshman from Buenos Aries, Argentina. It was his second tournament win of the season. He won a tournament in Iowa earlier in the year.

Rossi is looking forward to next week’s District III tournament at Sand Creek Station. Winners of that tournament return to the Newton course for the nationals May 15 to 18.

“I’m going to have to play very good at the next two tournaments,” Rossi said.

“We’ll work on some short-game things,” Robinson said. “We’ll take a day off. Then we’ll practice for a couple days. We’ll come back here for a practice round.”

Dodge City will play its fourth tournament at Sand Creek Station this season, playing at the National Championship Preview in the fall and the Bethel Invitational before playing the conference tournament.

“We’ve played here more than about any other team, and it paid off,” Robinson said. “We saw more holes here than anyone else, and that helped.”

Tiong won the overall conference title by one point over Rossi. The two join Funcic, Joey Morrisey of Johnson County and Ben Cotton of Hutchinson as first-team All-Jayhawk Conference selections.

Also playing at the tournament were Indian Hills Community College and Iowa Western Community College as part of the Iowa-Kansas Challenge.

Indian Hills won the challenge with an 875, 10 strokes better than Dodge City. Iowa Western had a team score of 917. Monty Lack led Indian Hills with a 217.

“Yesterday, we played well, especially in the morning when the wind wasn’t blowing,” Indian Hills coach Mike Hagen said. “We played pretty solid. The 290 (in the second round) was a special round. We had a lot of guys get par. It was enough to get us into today. Our 297 (third round) was solid.”

Both Iowa schools will return to Sand Creek Station for the district tournament.

“We played here for the national preview tournament and got third there,” Hagen said. “We didn’t play too well for two rounds there. We’re a much different team now. We have a lot more experience with our freshmen. I like my team, and I like the direction we’re going. I like our chances.”