BY JOHN DUBOIS
Golfers representing eight teams and seven schools took to the course at the Turtle Run Golf Course Saturday for opening round action in the DACC Invitational.
The event is one of four the Danville Area Community College golf team will be playing in this fall and the only one the Jaguars will be hosting.
Travis Waninger of Rend Lake was the first day individual leader with a 3 under par round of 69 and he also led the Warriors to first place in the team standings with a score of 300.
Former Salt Fork Storm standout David Keenan led the Parkland Cobras A team to a second place score of 311 with an opening round 77. The Jaguars are currently 7th with a team score of 323 and is led by former Danville High Viking Zach Bell, who shot a 76.
“I kinda had a rough start with a 40 on the front nine, but I recovered with a 36 on the back nine,” Bell said. “There are a lot of small things you have to do when the weather is like this and you cant worry about them because they are either going to pay off or they won’t.”
The weather conditions were windy and chilly, especially early in the day when the lead group of golfers teed off at 10 am.
“It was really cold in the morning,” Bell said. “After about six holes though, you could see if you were going to have a good day or not. I was able to par on holes 7-10 and then got an eagle on 11.”
Overall, Bell felt he had a decent round.
“I’ve been working on a lot of stuff, but this is our home course and there are no excuses,” he said. “I had a decent enough score going into tomorrow where I don’t have to try and make everything up in the second day, but I had two bogies on the last three holes and I wasn’t happy with that.”
Being from Danville and being a sophomore added to the event for Bell in different ways.
“This is the last time I will be playing in this tournament which added a little pressure,” he said. “I was able to have my family here and my grandfather is well known at Turtle Run, so it was nice to have them be able to see me play here. Rounds like today are part of growing in the game and over the course of the rest of the year, I will see where it goes for me.”
Jason Troyer was next for the Jaguars with a round of 77.
The sophomore from Mahomet also cited the 11th hole as a high point of his round.
“I had a really good birdie on 11 which was an above average shot,” Troyer said. “I need to work on finishing my rounds a little better, but given the cold and the wind this was a good round for me.”
Troyer cited two distinct effects of the weather conditions.
“When it is cold like it was in the morning the ball doesn’t go as far so you have to club up,” he said. “Then at times you can lose feeling in your hands. When that happens you start thinking about that instead of focusing on your next shot.”
Troyer was confident the Jaguars would bounce back today.
“We haven’t played as well as we hoped we would,” he said. “But we will get to where we want to be and things will come together for us.”
Cooper Tarter (83), Jacob Hayn (87) and Drew Simmons (89) rounded out the team scores for the Jaguars.
“Cooper is our No. 1 player but he really struggled today, especially on the last three holes where he was seven over,” said DACC coach Brian Hensgen. “Jacob is a freshman and this was his first time in tournament play. He had a rough start with a 45 on the front nine, but he stuck with it and didn’t give up. Drew also struggled today and as sophomores we are hoping Cooper and Drew will bounce back in the second round.”
Hensgen also acknowledged the weather, but didn’t offer it as an excuse.
“It was windy and chilly and the greens played very fast, but everyone out there had to deal with the same thing and it is what it is,” he said. “The course was in terrific shape, and it’s our home course so we should be familiar with it. Golf changes from front nine to back nine let alone day to day and all you can do is focus on the shot in front of you.”
Tee times for the second round of the DACC Invitational begin today at 9 a.m.