MANHATTAN – Sophomores Michael O’Connor and Ben Cotton finished first and second, respectively, to lead the 14th-ranked Hutchinson Community College men’s golf team to a second-place finish on Monday at Jayhawk No. 3, the final league meet of the final season.
O’Connor jumped into the Jayhawk Conference individual lead at the halfway point of the league season after winning Monday’s 36-hole event with a four-over-par score of 144.
O’Connor trailed Johnson County’s Trevor Tannahill and Gage Scheer by one stroke after a 1-over 71 in the morning round. O’Connor rallied to win his first conference tournament as a Blue Dragon, firing a 73 in the afternoon round to finish at 144. Tannahill closed with a 76 in the second round.
After ties for fifth and sixth, respectively, in the first two tournaments, O’Connor vaults to the top of the league’s individual standings with 20 points. He has a three-point lead on Johnson County’s Tannahill and Mario Funcic.
Cotton captured his second career conference tournament with his best finish of the season. After opening with a 74 on Monday, Cotton carded a 1-over 71 to finish second, one stroke behind O’Connor at 145.
His second-place finish moved Cotton into the individual Top 10. He is ninth with 10.5 points. Cotton finished out of the Top 10 in the first tournament and tied for ninth in tournament No. 2.
Hutchinson’s second-place finish on Tuesday is its best of the fall season, following two third-place finishes.
On Monday, HCC opened with a season-low 298 in the opening round, but trailed front-running Johnson County by 10 strokes after Round 1. The Blue Dragons re-set their season low in the afternoon round with a 295, but was unable to make up any ground on the Cavaliers, who also shot 295.
The Blue Dragons maintain third place in the Jayhawk Conference team standings with 25 points. Johnson County has 30 points and Dodge City is second with 26 points.
The Blue Dragons had one other Top 10 placer on Monday.
Freshman Jordan Hecker finished ninth at 150 (74-76). He is 10th in the league standings with nine points.
Sophomore Trey Hayden tied for 19th on Monday at 156 (81-75). Sophomore Mason Varner tied for 27th at 160 (83-77).
The Blue Dragons will be at the NJCAA Men’s Division I National Fall Preview on Oct. 22-23 in Lubbock, Texas.
(HCC Sports Information)