Clark anything but an alternate at first round of NJCAA nationals

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 5, 2002

Making it to the National Junior College Division III National Golf Championship as an alternate does not mean you aren't supposed to be there. Jeff Clark has been quick to prove that.

Clark, a Riverland Community College freshman and Austin native, proved that with an opening-round 77 at the NJCAA nationals Tuesday at the Chautauqua Golf Club in Chautauqua, N.Y.

"I don't even want to guess about where they stand," Riverland coach David Lillemon said after his two golfers had completed their rounds Tuesday afternoon. "Anything in the 70s is a solid round."

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Riverland sophomore Justin Bennett, who finished tied for 22nd last year, started with an 18-hole total of 79. Clark's 5-over round has him seven shots off the stellar pace set by the early leader. Matt Mooney of Lincoln Community College scored a 2-under 70 and has the lead by four strokes overf the nearest competitors.

"They didn't play in the rain, but play was delayed twice by the rain," Coach Lillemon said. "The conditions made the course play long but scorable."

Clark is in a six-way tie for 10th while Bennett is one of five golfers standing in 24th position. Clark teed off this morning at 10:28 a.m. for the second of four 18-hole rounds, and Bennett was in the next group off the tee scheduled for 10:36 a.m.


Individual (top 25) -- 1. Matt Mooney, Lincoln CC, 70; 2. Justin Heitkamp, Central Lakes, 72; Matt LaMarca, Rock Valley, 74; Josh Vasilko, Keystone, 74; 5. Marc Federico, CC of Rhode Island, 75; Dave Hunt, Raritan Valley, 75; Joe Kunz, Monroe CC, 75; 8. Nate Dyer, SUNY-Cobleskill, 76; Mike Elseth, Rochester, 76; 10. Jeff Clark, Riverland, 77; Ted Fitzpatrick, Bergen CC, 77; Nathan Fry, Keystone, 77; Joseph Hardy, Keystone, 77; Travis Pope, Columbus St., 77; Matt Smith, Rock Valley, 77; 16. Cormick Cantwell, Monroe CC, 78; Tony Choquette, Springfield Tech, 78; Ryan Gaslin, Columbus St., 78; Jesse Gawlik, SUNY-Cobleskill, 78; Nolan Green, Jones County JC, 78; Greg Lauersen, Keystone, 78; John Ruzzo, CC of Rhode Island, 78; 24. Justin Bennett, Riverland, 79; four others tied with 79.