Stars take lead into final round of NAIA National Championship

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SILVIS, Ill. – Top-ranked Oklahoma City University assumed the lead after three rounds of the NAIA men’s golf championships Thursday at TPC Deere Run.

The Stars turned in the top round of the tournament to open an eight-stroke lead. OCU remains the last team under par entering the last round 7:30 a.m. Friday.

Oklahoma City’s Rupert Kaminski trails individual leader S.M. Lee from Dalton State (Ga.) by five shots. Kaminski will be among the final group off the No. 1 tee at 9:45 a.m. Friday. Peri’Don Castille will be the first Star to begin his round at 9:09 a.m. Friday teeing off the first hole.

OCU takes aim at its 11th national championship. The Stars collected national crowns in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2016. OCU enters the last round leading for the first time since 2013, when the Stars captured the national title by 28 strokes.

The Stars have produced a 290-282-276–848 on the par-71, 7,066-yard course. Second-round team leader Coastal Georgia (280-285-291–856) slipped into a tie for second with Dalton State (284-282-290–856).

Kaminski, a junior from Johannesburg, South Africa, has tallied a 70-72-66–208. Kaminski is tied for the tournament lead with 16 birdies. Kaminski buried seven birdies Thursday – one each on the par-5, 581-yard 10th hole and the par-5, 550-yard 17th hole. He scored a 31 on the front nine to make the turn at 4-under par.

Gaston Romero of the Stars has recorded a 72-71-70–213 to be tied for 13th. Romero, a freshman from Cordoba, Argentina, knocked in two birdies while picking up one bogey Thursday. He will be in contention for all-tournament acclaim, which goes to the top 15 golfers.

OCU’s Garrison Mendoza has contributed a 74-68-72–214. Mendoza, a senior from Clinton, Okla., nailed four birdies, including back-to-back birdies on Nos. 13 and 14, during the third round. He has 11 birdies this week. David Meyers has provided the Stars with a 75-73-68–216. Meyers, a sophomore from Johannesburg, South Africa, sank five birdies. He made birdie on the second, third and fifth holes, then finished with birdies on the 17th and 18th holes.

Castille, a sophomore from Dallas, has carded a 74-71-72–217. Castille remained even with par through the first nine holes, then dropped in three birdies on the back nine. Castille drained birdies on the final two holes.

Sixth-ranked Texas Wesleyan remained in fifth place with a 289-287-284–860. Rowan Lester, the defending individual national champion, posted a 73-70-68–211 to be tied for sixth. He made four birdies Thursday, starting his round off with three birdies.

Fourth-rated Wayland Baptist went to eighth at 288-290-295–873. Andrew Williamson forged a 70-70-70–210. He has made par a tournament-best 41 times.

The conditions at the course included 60-degree temperatures in the morning climbing to 80 degrees by mid-day. The wind picked up to around 15 mph in the afternoon.


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Ken MacLeod

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