Marion, Iowa -- Indian Hills opened its fall schedule by winning the Klocke Family Classic in the first meet for the Warriors under new head coach Nathan Weant. The Warriors claimed the team title in the event hosted by Mount Mercy University by 16 strokes over runnerup Kirkwood CC and had the individual champion in sophomore Julien Sale, who fired a six-under par 138 over 36 holes at Hunter's Ridge Golf Course.
After starting the tournament with a team score of 293, the best of any squad over the opening 18 holes, the Warriors followed with another best round, a two-over par 290, to nail down the victory. The 583 total was 16 shots better than Kirkwood's second-place score of 599.
Sale put together back-to-back rounds of three-under 69 to outdistance teammate Ricky Sanders, the defending national champion from last year. Sanders followed up a one-over par 73 on Saturday with a one-under 71 to close out the tourney.
Weant said, "Julien has been working extremely hard on his game in order to get ready to play at the next level after this year and it is paying off. He shot 12-under par in five rounds of qualifying last week and then went out and got the win. Julien is a great team leader and the freshmen are really learning a lot from him and his work ethic."
Indian Hills was bolstered by the play of a pair of the freshmen Weant alluded to, George Clarke and Joe Hodgson. Clarke tied for 5th in his initial collegiate test and Hodgson tied for 29th. Clarke opened with a 71 and his coach is excited for what he can contribute, saying "George has a great game and will be instrumental in our goal to win the national championship."
The Warriors' next action will come in the Zach Johnson Invitational at Glen Oaks in Des Moines Oct. 2-3. Weant is already looking ahead to that tourney. "We played well in the Mount Mercy meet and posted some good scores," he said. "The real test, though, will be our next event, hosted by Drake University, where we will face some Division I teams. I fully expect to have these guys ready to win that tournament."
Klocke Family Classic
Team scores (top 10):
- Indian Hills 293-290=583; T2. Kirkwood 299-300=599; T2. Mount Mercy (B) 296-303=599; 4. Kirkwood (B) 295-305=600; 5. Bethany (KS) 299-306=605; 6. Black Hawk College 304-304=608; 7. Hannibal-LaGrange 304-308=612; 8. St. Ambrose 305-310=615; 9. Mount Mercy 313-310=623; 10. Graceland 307-319=626
Indian Hills scores: