GCCC men's golf sixth after first day

GCCC Sports Information Services
The Garden City Comunity College men's golf team is in sixth place after the first day of the NJCAA national chmapionship in Lubbock, Texas.

LUBBOCK, TEXAS - The weather was far from great, the greens played fast, and his teammates got off to sluggish starts. Yet, Oliwer Toiminen was in a zone all by himself, almost singlehandedly keeping Garden City Community College in contention before the rest of the guys got going. And at times, it was breathtaking to watch.

The freshman shot a 3-under 69, tying him for fourth place individually, while his team finished day one in sixth at 4-over after round one of the NJCAA National Championships at Rawls Golf Course on Monday.

"I just felt like I was consistent all day," Toiminen said. "The greens played faster than the practice round on Sunday, but I adjusted right away."

Toiminen was locked in right from the start. He birdied the first hole, a tricky 185-yard par three before parring the next two. He drained a 15-foot birdie putt on four and tapped another one in on seven, finishing the front nine at 1-under.

"Starting the day off with a par 3 was not ideal," Head Coach, Phil Terpstra explained. "You would much rather them start with something a little longer."

It didn't matter much to Toiminen, who kept rolling after the turn. He birdied 10, parred the next five holes, then shave a stroke off on both 16 and 17. In all, he had a team-best six birdies and avoided big numbers all day.

"I just have to keep doing what I'm doing," Toiminen stated. "It was fun; I loved the atmosphere of playing on this course on this stage."

While Toiminen was the headliner on Monday, Isaac MacNaughton definitely made some noise. After four straight bogeys to begin the round, the Canadian found his groove. And after shooting 4-over through the first eight holes, he birdied four of the next five including three straight. He finished the day 1-over and tied for 25th.

"Nerves were definitely a part of my slow start," MacNaughton admitted afterwards. "But once I calmed down, I just played golf. I did what I've done all season. I mean, I couldn't have started any worse."

Adam Samnegard was another one who had to navigate through some large numbers at the beginning of the round. His first eight holes left plenty to be desired. But the freshman began to turn things around on No. 9, tapping in for birdie on the par-5 578. Then, after back-to-back bogeys following the turn, Samengard rebounded again with two more birdies over the final six holes to finish at 2-over and tied for 31st.

"Adam stayed positive after a really rough stretch," Terpstra said. "But I'm really proud of him, and I'm really proud of all our guys on how they pushed through."

Meantime it was a rough day for Philip Stjernlof, who after shooting even through five, bogeyed five straight holes, which included a double on four. But give him credit because at 6-over, his round could have been disastrous. But the freshman managed to finish strong with a pair of birdies on 17 and 18 to finish at 4-over.

"We have to find a way to be consistent over the next few days," Terpstra added. "And there will be some challenges, because it's supposed to rain on Tuesday. So, we'll see."

Garden City is currently tied for sixth place with Jefferson State. Hutchinson shot 8-under to lead the way while Odessa's Will Adams fired a field-best 66 (6-under).