Valley's Evangelio finishes in top 15

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Valley freshman Nicolas Evangelio tied for 14th place to earn all-America honors. (MVC Athletics)

MESA, Ariz. -- The Missouri Valley College men's golf team finished in 15th place last week during the program's first appearance in the NAIA National Championships at Mesa, Ariz.

Freshman Nicolas Evangelio of Logroala, Spain, became the Vikings' first all-American by tying for 14th place with a four-round score of 293, nine over par on the Las Sendas Golf Club Hilly Desert Course. Evangelio opened with a three-over 74, but came back in the next two rounds with a one-over 72 and one-under 70 to put himself in the hunt for the final 18 holes -- seven strokes out of first place -- but dropped back with a 77 on Friday.

Evangelio was the 10th-best player on par-four holes with a plus-seven and 11th on par fives at minus-four, but struggled on par threes with a plus-six.

Junior Jan Jedlicka of Opava-Vavrovice, Czech Republic, also started poorly with a 78, but also gave himself a chance at medaling with a 70 and 71 on Wednesday and Thursday -- eventually falling into a tie for 31st place at 297 strokes. That put him in position for third-team all-America selection. He was one stroke better than Evangelio on par fours at plus-six, but was only even par on par fives.

Senior Hamish Gorn of Dunfermline, Scotland, listed as Valley's No. 2 player, opened with a 78 and 79 and was never in contention. He came back with 75s during the last two rounds and finished sharing 59th place with a 307. Junior Arnar Hjartarson was unable to break 80, scoring that in the final round, and capped Valley's scoring with a 324. Senior Max Rogers shot 337 and didn't factor in the team scoring.

Texas Wesleyan won its sixth title, and first since 1999, with a score of 1,166 points -- besting Coastal Georgia by nine points.

The final round featured a brilliant charge by Taylor (Ind.) senior Alec Dutkowski, who shot a seven-under-par 64 -- the lowest round of the tournament -- to catch Coastal Georgia senior Mark David Johnson, whose 71 on the final round left them both tied at 286 strokes with British Columbia junior Logan Carver, who turned in a 66. Kansas Wesleyan senior Ben Hadden, who topped the leader board the first three rounds, fell one stroke short of the playoff with a 76.

On the 73rd hole of the meet, Dutkowski lost his ball off the tee and Carver also got out of shape before reaching the green, while Johnson birdied to claim the gold.

The Vikings reached the national meet by winning the Heart of America Conference championship May 1 at the Club at Porto Cima at Osage Beach, where Evangelio won a second playoff hole to become the school's first league champion since current head coach Jordan Dickson won it in 2012. Also Indian Foothills Golf Course superintendant, Dickson earned his second HAAC "coach of the year" award, which he previously received in 2017.

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