Driving Forces

Georgia Military College Gets Off To Fast Start; Southwest Tech’s Steiner Is Medalist With 4-Under 68

After opening with a 4-under 68 in the first round of the NJCAA Division III Golf Championships for medalist honors, Mitchell Steiner of Southwest Tech watches his drive during a long-drive contest Tuesday afternoon on the Lake Course at Chautauqua Golf Club. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

CHAUTAUQUA — The Georgia Military College golf team has had quite a road trip since leaving its campus in Milledgeville — located 90 miles from Atlanta — on its way to Chautauqua County.

Along the way, it has stopped at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia and played 18 holes at the home of the Greenbrier Classic, an annual PGA Tour event; and then, immediately after checking into their condominium, it took off for Niagara Falls to see all its grandeur and beauty.

Oh, and by the way, the Bulldogs seem to find the Lake Course at Chautauqua Golf Club to their liking, too.

Sparked by an even-par 72 by Ashton Denton and a 73 by Vloris Veth, Georgia Military College shot 300 as a team in the opening round of the NJCAA Division III National Championships. Their collective outstanding performance — all five players shot in the 70s — propelled the Bulldogs to a 13-shot lead over Columbus (Ohio) State CC. Sandhills (North Carolina) CC and Minnesota State Community and Technical College are tied for third at 314.

Host Jamestown CC shot a 333 and is 11th in the 13-team field.

Defending individual champion Dante Migliore of Mohawk Valley Community College watches his tee shot on No. 6. Migliore shot a 2-under 70 and is two shots back. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

“It was definitely worth the drive,” Georgia Military College first-year coach Josh Miller said. “That’s the best we’ve played since September. … The guys have been working hard all spring and things are finally coming together. It’s a great day and we’ve got three more to go.”

The medalist was Mitchell Steiner of Southwest (Wisconsin) Tech, who fashioned a 4-under 68. Steiner, 19, is an individual qualifier and is two shots ahead of defending champion Dante Migliore of Mohawk Valley CC, who is also an individual qualifier.

“I left some (shots) on the course,” the Argyle, Wisconsin resident said. “I missed some putts I shouldn’t have and I made some I shouldn’t have, so it was one of those rounds. I’d say, overall, it evened out.”

In other top rounds, Ross Moore of Nassau CC joined Veth with a 73, Kent Umberger of Harrisburg Area (Pennsylvania) CC had a 74, and Will Lewis of Sandhills CC, Mason Landborg of Minnesota State Community and Technical College, and Joshua Maisel of Anne Arundel (Maryland) CC all fired a 75.

But the most impressive numbers on the scoreboard, located just off the 18th green, belonged to Georgia Military College. In addition to Denton and Veth, Niklas Frimodig had a 77, Tanner Casey had 78 and Adam Price had a 78. One of the 78s was tossed out, giving the Bulldogs an even 300 for the day. Veth hails from Holland, Frimodig is from Sweden and Price is a native of Ireland.

Patrick O’Halloran of Suffolk Community College won the long-drive competition that was held after the first round of the NJCAA Division III Golf Championships at Chautauqua Golf Club on Tuesday. O’Halloran’s best drive measured 299 yards. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg

“This is the biggest smile I’ve had on my face in a while,” Miller said. “It’s been a lot of hard work. We’re just going to try and improve on that tomorrow.”

Given the cool and occasional rainy conditions, those scores were especially good. With the weather expected to improve the rest of the week, it will be interesting to see how low the scores will get.

For host Jamestown CC, nobody shot in the 70s. Anthony Miller led the way for the Jayhawks with an 80, followed by Cody Latimer with an 82, Dillan Labarbera with an 83, and Cole Munson and Evan Grey both with an 88. One of the 88s was tossed out, leaving Jamestown CC 33 shots off the pace.

Action resumes this morning at 9. Steiner will tee off on No. 10 at 9, while Migliore will follow immediately in the next group at 9:08. Denton will be the first Georgia Military College player to tee off — also on No. 10 — at 9:40, followed by Price at 9:48, Casey at 9:56. Frimodig at 10:04, and Veth at 10:12.

Jamestown CC will tee off on No. 1, beginning with Grey at 10:20, Labarbera will follow at 10:28., Munson at 10:36, Miller at 10:44 and Latimer at 10:52.

Tanner Casey of Georgia Military College, left, tees off on No. 2 on the Lake Course. P-J photos by Scott Kindberg

“I know I’ve got to stay humble,” Steiner said, “but I feel I can play well the rest of the week.”

Plenty of his peers on the Lake Course undoubtedly feel they can, too.

Stay tuned.

NOTES: Patrick O’Halloran of Suffolk CC blasted a 299-yard tee shot to win the long-drive competition, which was held upon completion of the first round.


Jamestown Community College’s Anthony Miller lines up his putt on No. 5. P-J photos by Scott Kindberg

1. Georgia Military College 300

2. Columbus State CC 313

3. Sandhills CC 314

3. Minnesota State Comm Tech 314

5. College of DuPage 319

6. Anne Arundel CC 322

7. Harrisburg Area CC 324

8. Nassau CC 329

9. Onondaga CC 330

10. Niagara County CC 331

11. Jamestown CC 333

12. CC of Morris 341

13. CC of Rhode Island 350