UCO prevails in Missouri Western Invitational, giving Thompson first win

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St. JOSEPH, Mo. (Oct. 12) – Kyle Hickey fired a 3-under-par 68 and Caleb Kimmel added an even-par 71 as Central Oklahoma hung on to capture the Missouri Western Holiday Inn Express Invitational Tuesday.

The Bronchos closed with a 289 to finish with a 569 total in the two-day, 36-hole tournament at the 6,564-yard, par-71 St. Joseph Country Club. Washburn finished five shots behind in second, followed by the host Griffons (582) and Winona State (590).

UCO struggled in its first three tournaments of the fall season with no better than an eighth-place finish, but the Bronchos got off to a hot start in Monday’s first round and rode that momentum to their first title since Feb. 11, 2020.

It also marked the initial tournament win for first-year head coach Derrick Thompson, who came to UCO this summer after a seven-year stint at Iowa Western Community College.

“It was a little bumpy today, but we got it done,” said Thompson, who led the men’s and women’s teams at Iowa Western to 43 tournament titles. “I’m so proud of these guys for the way they’ve hung in there this fall. We didn’t do so well in our first three events, but they just keep working and it was good to see some positive results.”

Hickey — a starter on Iowa Western’s national tournament team last spring — ended up second in the individual standings with a four-under 138 total, one shot behind winner Dawson Wills of Washburn. Kimmel tied for third in the medalist standings at 139.

Liam Coughlin added a final-round 73 for UCO, while Evan Griffith shot 77 and Bennett Baldwin 81.

Hickey, playing in his second tournament with the Bronchos, started final-round play on the second hole and birdied the par-3 fourth and par-4 fifth to quickly get to two-under.

The junior sandwiched a birdie on the par-5 eighth between a pair of bogeys in dropping to one-under before getting back to minus-three with birdies on the par-4 14th and par-5 18th. Hickey closed with a par on No. 1 to polish off the 68.

Kimmel had an eventful even-par day as he carded six birdies – including three on par-3s – along with six pars and six bogeys. He started play on No. 1 and bogeyed the first two holes before answering with consecutive birdies and went on to shoot a one-over 36 on the front nine.

The sophomore got to one-under with birdies on the par-3 11th and 13th holes. Kimmel bogeyed No. 16, birdied the par-5 17th and then finished with a bogey to end his up-and-down day.

Coughlin opened his round on No. 4 with a bogey, followed with five pars and got back to even-par with a birdie on the par-5 10th. Bogeys on Nos. 11 and 15 dropped the freshman to two-over, but he rebounded with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 1 and 18 before finishing his round with a double bogey on the par-4 third.

Central ends its five-tournament fall schedule next week with a trip to Hays, Kan. for the Fort Hays State Tiger Classic.

Carlos Gomez fired a 1-over-par 72 in the final round to help Northeastern State to a fifth-place tie with Southwestern Oklahoma at 591..

Three RiverHawks placed in the Top 20 on the leaderboard and were led by Gabe Replogle.  The sophomore carded rounds of 69 and 77 (146) to finish tied for 14th.

Dominic Stevens was one shot back with rounds of 73 and 74 and tied for 16th.  Gomez followed with rounds of 76 and 72 to finish tied for 19th.  Ryan Morant also had a strong showing with rounds of 77 and 73 and tied for 28th.

Brayden Strickland shot matching 77s in the tournament and landed tied for 46th overall.

Northeastern State will wrap up the fall portion of its schedule next week in Hays, Kansas, at the Tiger Classic.

Gregor Weck tied for seventh at 142 (73-69) to lead SWOSU.


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