For freshman James Fenner, it was not the typical victory. But winning was still sweet for Fenner, who garnered the individual title at the weather-shortened Blueboy Invitational, hosted by Illinois College in Auburn, Ill.
After posting a first round 76 on Friday, Fenner was just one back of Hannibal-Lagrange College’s Lucas Morande heading into the second and final round. Fenner carded a 38 on the front nine Saturday, three strokes clear of Morande, and a solid score for the conditions. Fenner’s total of 114 put him at the top of the leaderboard.
“I just kind of kept my head on straight and battled through in making each shot,” Fenner said. “It was really just about not losing it on one hole or one shot and just taking it one stroke at a time.”
Frigid temperatures, high winds and sheets of rain blanketed the course, and tournament organizers decided to cancel the final nine holes, making it a 27-hole tournament. “It was a no-brainer,” head coach Rob Purlee said, “play had to be stopped after 27 holes.”
In addition to Fenner’s triumph, teammate junior Bobby Stuebi finished just three shots back in a tie for fourth place.
For Purlee the performances were even more impressive considering the impact the rain had.
“James and Bobby were good, and the scary part is I think they both would tell you they could have gone lower on Friday.”
Unfortunately the team performance was unable to match Knox’s top two. Seniors A.J. Shule, Peter Cain and Kevin Morris posted scores in the 90s and the Prairie Fire finished sixth in the eight team tournament.
“As a team we have not played our best yet, not even close,” Purlee said. “Hopefully we can find our groove soon.”
Knox did finish ahead of host and conference foe Illinois College, a good sign heading into the final week of the regular season. Knox was also without junior Jamie Jang—usually the team’s number two golfer—as he was out with an illness. He should be back at this weekend’s Scot-Fire Invitational.
Knox will co-host the Scot-Fire with Midwest Conference foe Monmouth College. Play begins Friday at 12 p.m. at Soangetaha Country Club in Galesburg, Ill. It will be the team’s only home tournament this season, as the opening Prairie Fire Invitational was rained out in late March.