A&M Lights up Blessings Collegiate; Broin Is 2nd Individually
October 5, 2022
By Michael R Fermoyle
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Gunnar Broin of Kansas put together a 7-under-par 65 at Blessings Golf Club on Monday and was in first place going into the second round of the Blessings Collegiate Invitational. On Tuesday, the junior from Chanhassen got off to a fast start, making birdies on his first two holes -- the par-5 10th (607 yards) and par-4 11th (402). He made a double bogey at the 483-yard, par-4 first hole and was 1 over for the round after he bogeyed the par-4 fifth (459). Undaunted, the former Minnesota State Junior champion finished his round with a flourish. He holed his second shot at the 500-yard seventh hole for an eagle 2, then bogeyed the par-3 eighth (134 yards), but bounced back with a birdie at the par-4 ninth (418).
That added up to 71 for Broin, who came into this tournament off a fifth-place finish at the Folds of Honor Collegiate (71-70-72--213) last week at American Dunes in Grand Haven, Mich., and it gave him a 36-hole total of 136 -- minus 8 on a 7,700-yard golf course.
But Daniel Rodrigues' finish was slightly better. The Texas A&M junior, who is No. 35 out of the approximately 2,500 golfers in the Golfweek's Men's NCAA Division I Rankings, started on the first hole and made four birdies on the front nine. He bogeyed the 11th hole, but down the stretch he birdied the 612-yard, par-5 15th, the 485-yard, par-4 16th and 230-yard, par-3 17th on the way to a 66 and a two-day aggregate of 135.
So he goes into Wednesday's third round with a one-shot lead over Broin (No. 294 in the rankings), and Broin is three clear of third-place Caden Fioroni of UNLV. Fioroni followed a 67 with a 72 for 139. Segundo Pinto of host Arkansas is another two back at 141, after shooting 70.
Texas A&M had a slightly surreal four-man team score of 15-under 273 Tuesday, and the Aggies have four players in the top 10 individually. That includes senior Sam Bennett, who won the U.S. Amateur this summer. He opened with a 75 but came back with a 68 and is tied for sixth at 143.
Arkansas is the defending team champion and started the second round in first place. But Texas A&M pretty much lapped the Razorbacks, who shot a combined 293, and the Aggies now lead by 12 -- 565 to 577. Mississippi State had the second-best team score of the day, 285, but the Bulldogs find themselves a distant 20 srokes behind A&M, in third at 585. Ole Miss is fourth at 588, and Clemson is one behind the Rebels at 589.
Kansas could do no better than 310 on Tuesday and is tied for sixth at 596, along with Louisville.
One other Minnesotan is playing for Kansas, and that's junior Cecil Belisle, the former two-time Minnesota state high school champ from Red Wing. Belisle, who won the 2021 Minnesota State Open, tied for fourth three weeks ago in the Gopher Invitational at Windsong Farm (72-68-67--207), and he tied for 19th in the Folds of Honor Collegiate (73-70-77--220). He has struggled at Blessings, however, and is at 156 (77-79), tied for 48th place.
The Blessings Collegiate Invitational
At Blessings Golf Club
Par 72, 7,700 yards
1. Texas A&M 292-273--565
2. Arkansas 284-293--577
3. Mississippi State 300-285--585
4. Ole Miss 297-291--588
5. Clemson 292-297--589
T6. Kansas 286-310--596
T6. Louisville 295-301--596
8. UCLA 304-299--603
T9. California 309-296--605
T9. UNLV 296-309--605
T11. UCF 307-302--609
1. Daniel Rodrigues, Texas A&M 69-66--135
2. Gunnar Broin, Kansas 65-71--136
3. Caden Fioroni, UNLV 67-72--139
4. Segundo Pinto, Arkansas 71-70--141
5. Sarut Vongchaisit, Ole Miss 71-71--142
T6. Sam Bennett, Texas A&M 75-68--143
T6. Phichaksn Maichon, Texas A&M 76-67--143
T6. Ruan Pretorius, Mississippi State 72-71--143
T48. Cecil Belisle, Kansas 77-79--156