BRASELTON, Ga. – Two rounds into the NCAA Division III National Championship, Knox senior David Marquardt finds himself tied for 12th overall.
With another 36 holes to play, Marquardt, the Midwest Conference individual champion, is well within striking distance of the tournament’s front-runners. He sits ten strokes behind leader Scott Harris of St John Fisher College, the only player under-par through two rounds. Three strokes separate the Fire’s captain from a spot in the top five.
Following a difficult start to his second day in which he double-bogeyed his first two holes, Marquardt rebounded. He carded two birdies on the remaining front nine holes and put together a string of eight-straight pars on the back to finish with a 77. He shot a 1-over par 72 for the first round.
The rest of the Prairie Fire did not fare as well. Knox missed the cut and was eliminated from competition after finishing 32nd in the field of 35 teams. Marquardt, however, will continue to represent the Prairie Fire as one of the top five individuals playing for a team not in the tournament’s top 23. Finishing 153rd in the tournament, sophomore Taylor Mueller was the Fire’s second scorer. Mueller had three birdies in the first round on his way to a solid 83.
Senior Arjun Rao, all-conference sophomore Kevin Foerster, and freshman Morris rounded out the first Knox squad to go to the national tournament in 17 years. Those five, along with sophomore Bryce Goodman and head coach C.J. Rugh, won the MWC Championship on May 3. Playing his final rounds as a member of the Prairie Fire, four-year letter winner Marquardt will aim to become the fifth All-American in Knox men’s golf history.
When asked last week about what this tournament means to him and the program, Marquardt said, “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Arjun and myself, but the younger guys need to take this experience back for the years to come, and keep future teams motivated to make it to nationals again.”
After finishing his second round at Chateau Elan Resort Wednesday, Kevin Morris agreed.
“Although it was disappointing for the rest of the team to finish like we did,” he said. “Playing with that kind of talent is a good learning experience, and we are really excited to watch Dave compete over the next two rounds — it’s really special for him.”
Following the tournament’s conclusion on Friday, the team will return to Galesburg. A welcome back rally similar to the send-off event for baseball is scheduled for sometime Saturday, depending on when the team gets in.
By press time, Marquardt will have finished his third round. Updated results are available at GolfStatResults.com.