By Tony Viola, Sports Editor
Classes might be done for most students, but one Hilltopper is still representing his school. Junior Ryan Thomson posted a three-day score of 14-over-par 227 at the NCAA Division II Atlantic/East Regional to earn a trip to the National Championship Tournament.
”I’m really surprised and I can’t believe I made it this early in my career at West Liberty,” Thomson said.
After shooting a 77 on the first day of the tournament, which was held at the Hersey Country Club in Hersey, Pa., Thomson moved into eighth place in the medal chase on the second day with a 75.
But as Thomson finished on day two, the rain started, preventing more then half of the competitors from finishing. Those golfers had to finish their rounds on Wednesday before the third day of the tournament began.
The aftermath of the rain still affected Thomson on the beginning of the final day, as the second team All-Conference honoree bogeyed on four of his first six holes.
”I wasn’t too worried whenever I hit those bogeys,” Thomson said. ”It was a tough track so I knew other people would struggle as well.”
The Hilltoppper standout then played nearly flawless over the next 12 holes, finishing with a 4-over-par 75.
Things did get a little tight for the native of Georgetown, Ontario on the 17th hole as California (Pa.) University’s Charlie Durman shot a birdie to pull within one shot of Thomson. Durman, however, ended his round with a par on the last hole to come up one stroke short of forcing a playoff.
Thomson finished the tournament fifth overall and second among the individual qualifiers. The top five teams and the two individuals with the lowest scores who were not members of a qualifying team qualified for the national tournament.
Even with all the excitement around him, Thomson still says having his dad at the tournament is a memory he will cherish.
”I was really thankful to have him here. He’s done a lot of me and has pushed me to strive for more,” he said. ”I owe him a lot and he is the main reason I attended school in the states.”
The NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championship will be held May 15-19 at the Cardinal Club in Simpsonville, Ky. as part of the NCAA Division II Spring Championship Festival.