Pearson leads Spartans at UNI Invite

Oliver Pearson

CEDAR FALLS - Southwestern's golf teams competed well against NCAA Division I opponents Saturday and Sunday at the UNI Invitational at Pheasant Ridge Golf Course.

The Spartans were led by sophomore Oliver Pearson of Australia, who finished second overall in the men's competition with a two day score of 1-over par, 145. Pearson shot 2-over par 74 on Saturday and posted a score of 1-under par on Sunday to climb the leaderboard. He finished just two strokes back of individual champion Tucker Knaak of Creighton.

"Ollie played great both days, very consistent and even-mannered, which is great to see," Southwestern Head Coach Doug North said. "He has battled some demons since he came to campus and this tournament was a great breakthrough for him."

Reinhardt Saunderson also posted a top-20 finish with a score of 6-over par, 150, to tie for 13th. Saunderson rebounded from a 7-over par round of 79 on Saturday to card a 1-under round of 71 on Sunday. Freshman Tony Cebuhar of Dunlap, Illinois, finished 23rd with rounds of 79 and 78. Shaun Richards rounded out the team scoring for the Spartans with a two-day score of 14-over, 158, to tie for 24th.

Southwestern finished fourth as a team with a two-day score of 613.

"Reinhardt also had a great Day 2; shooting a 1-under round in that field is impressive," North said. "For our first tournament, this was great to see. We struggled on Day 1 and still shot a 316. Day 2, we finally played more our style of golf and came in with a 297. A 297 is going to be competitive in any tournament we play in."

On the women's side, Southwestern did not have enough golfers to post a team score. Bianca Findlay, sophomore from Australia, led the Spartans with a 29th-place finish. Findlay posted a round of 86 on Sunday, bouncing back from a round of 98 on Saturday. Ashton Carter shot 97 on both days to finish 31st and Sarah Rauschenberg shot eight shots better on Sunday (109-101) to finish 32nd.

"I'm proud of the way we battled," North said. "Being a golfer doesn't normally bring thoughts of 30 mph winds and 27 degrees at tee times, but that is what we faced. I'm hoping the weather we faced on Day 1 was as bad as we will see all year."