NIACC's Boerjan shares first day lead at regionals

AMES - NIACC sophomore Ben Boerjan is tied for first place after the first round of the NJCAA Region XI tournament on Sunday at the Veenker Memorial Golf Course on the Iowa State University campus.

Boerjan shot a first-day 71 and shares the lead with Kirkwood's James Morgan.

NIACC is in fifth place with a 319 heading into Monday's final 18 holes of the tournament. The Trojans are one shot out of third place as Southwestern and Northeast CC are tied for third at 318.

"We are right in the hunt just like I thought we would be," NIACC coach Chris Frenz said. "The course played tough (Sunday), but our guys hung in there and Ben's 71 was outstanding."

The top three teams advance to the NJCAA Division II national tournament, which is set for May 21-24 in Plymouth, Ind.

Kirkwood is leading the tournament with a 304 and DMACC is in second with a 310.

Also for the Trojans on Sunday, Jackson Hamlin shot an 80, Austin Eckenrod shot an 82, Zach Martin shot an 86 and Matthew Heinemann shot an 87.

"Jackson and Austin started out slow," Frenz said, "but did a good job of taking what the course gave them on the back nine and came in with solid scores after a rough start.

"Zach and Matthew will make the needed adjustments (Monday) because we're going to be in a dogfight and every stroke is going to be critically important."

Boerjan is seeking a return trip to the national tournament as he is the lone returner off last year's team that qualified for nationals.

"His ball striking (Sunday) was outstanding," Frenz said of his sophomore, "and his focus was spot on."

Team standings - Kirkwood 304, DMACC 310, Southwestern 318, Northeast CC 318, NIACC 319, Iowa Lakes 322, Hawkeye CC 323, Southeastern 331, Iowa Central 357.

NIACC's Monday tee times - Matthew Heinemann 9:50 a.m.; Zach Martin 10 a.m.; Austin Eckenrod 10:10 a.m.; Jackson Hamlin 10:20 a.m.; Ben Boerjan 10:30 a.m.