Arkansas and Weather Dominate Blessings Collegiate; Rain and Lightning Blunt Gopher Men's Rally

October 4, 2023 | 7 min.
By Michael R Fermoyle

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Except for the weather, nothing much happened on Wednesday in the Blessings Collegiate Invitational. There were a few shots hit before play was suspended, but it wasn't too long before rain and lightning caused the final round of the tournament to be cancelled. So the team and individual standings for both the men's and women's divisions stayed the same, and none of the four championship trophies left Fayetteville.

Arkansas led from the start until the abbreviated finish -- in everything.

Playing on their home course, Blessings Golf Club, the host Razorbacks shot 285 on Day 1 (Monday) to take the lead in the Women's Division. They had the low team aggregate on Day 2, as well, 280 (8 under par), and their two-day total of 565 gave them a 14-stroke victory in the 10-team field. No other team broke or even matched par on either day. Mississppi State came the closest, with a 1-over 289 the first day and a 2-over 290 the second, and the Bulldogs finished second at 579. Clemson was another seven behind in third at 586.

Maria Jose Marin, a freshman from Colombia, led the charge for Arkansas. She earned medalist honors, opening with a 5-under 67 and following that with eight birdies in another 67, for a 36-hole total of 134. Mississippi State's Julia Lopez Ramirez was tied for third after the first day, but she rallied on the second, with four birdies and an eagle in her last eight holes for a 66. With that, she moved up into second place, three behind Marin at 137. Marin's Arkansas teammate Miriam Ayora had a pair of 70s and finished third at 140. 

Minnesota struggled on Day 1 and posted a 312, which had them in 10th place. The Gophers improved on that by 14 strokes on Day 2, but moved up only one place in a strong field, and they finished ninth. 

Individually, four of the five Gophers were bunched between 151 and 154. Megan Furtney, a grad student from St. Charles, Ill., had the 151, which put her in 30th. Hailey Loh, a senior from Singapore, was right behind her, in a tie for 31st at 152. Then came Bella McCauley, the former state high school champion from Inver Grove Heights, with a 153, and Grace Curran, a grad student from New Lenox, Ill., shot Minnesota's low score of the week, a 72 in the second round, and that moved her up into solo 37th at 154.

As for the men, it was John Driscoll and Arkansas going wire to wire. Driscoll, a grad student from Florida, bolted to the front of the pack with a first-round 68 on a Blessings course that was stretched to 7,720 yards. He didn't exactly let up, making two birdies in the first three holes of his second round, and going on to shoot another 68. The resulting 36-hole total of 136 was good enough for a four-stroke victory.

His efforts  helped the Razorbacks win the team title by six shots, 563 to 569 over second-place Mississippi State. The Bulldog men were led by Hunter Logan, who tied with Kentucky's Alex Goff for second in the individual standings at 140. Logan wasn't even in the top 10 after Day 1, but he turned in the best score of the tournament on Day 2, a 67. Washington's Finn Koelle, shot 67, too. After a first-round 78, he needed that just to lift himself iinto a tie for 16th, but it also helped the Huskies move up to third in the team standings at 577. (There was one other 67, by Diego Prone of North Texas, but after opening with an 81, he could do no better than a tie for 23rd with his 36-hole tab of 148.)

Minnesota had two players in the top 10. Brock Winter, the former state high school champion from Stillwater who transferred from North Dakota State and is now a grad student playing for the Gophers, tied for fourth. He opened with a 72 and was 1 over for the tournament after making a double bogey on the ninth hole of his second round. But he birdied three of the next six holes for an incoming 33 and a 70, and a 36-hole aggregate of 142. And right behind him was the Gophers' Ben Warian, a senior from Stillwater who went to high school at Hill-Murray. He followed a 71 with a 72 at Blessings and tied for sixth at 143, one ahead of the most famous player in the field -- Arkansas sophomore John Daly II, the son of the two-time major champion with the same name. Daly shot 72 both days and tied for 11th at 144.

The Gophers, who ended up sixth in the team standings at 591, seemed to hit their stride on the back nine the second day. They were 5 under as a team for the inward nine Tuesday, which enabled them to pass eighth-place NC State (594) and seventh-place Clemson (593). What's more, they gained 14 shots on fifth-place Kentucky (590) and seemed ready to pass the Wildcats on Day 3, but unfortunately, there was no Day 3. 

Blessings Collegiate Invitational 

At Blessings Golf Club

Fayetteville, Ark,. 

Men's Division 

Course -- Par 72, 7,720 yards

Final results (tournament was shortened from 54 to 36 holes because of rain and lightning)

1. Arkansas                     279-284--563

2. Mississippi State         288-281--569

3. Washington                296-281--577

4. Arkansas #2               296-287--583

5. Kentucky                    293-297--590

6. Minnesota                 299-292--591

7. Clemson                    297-296--593

8. NC State                    299-295--594

9. South 'Carolina          302-298--600

10. North Texas             317-287--604


1. John Driscoll, Arkansas.        68-68--136

T2. Hunter Logan, Miss. State   73-67--140

T2. Alex Goff, Kentucky             70-70--140

T4. Brock Winter, Minnesota   72-70--142

T4. Manuel Lozada, Arkansas   69-73--142

T6. Ben Warian, Minnesota      71-72--143

T6. Petr Hruby, Washington        74-69--143

T6. Pedro Cruz Silva, Miss. St.    72-71--143

T6. Jonathan Nielsen,  Clemson  74-69--143

T6. Matthis Lefevre, Ark. #2         70-73--143

T30. Bennett Swavely, Minn       76-74--150

T45. Jacob Pedersen, Minn.       80-76--156

T48. Mason Ruloff, Minnesota    83-80--163

Women's Division

Course -- Par 72, 6,503 yards

Final results 

1. Arkansas                       285-280--565

2. Mississippi State           289-290--579

3. Clemson                       303-283---586

4. Arkansas #2                  291-297--588

5. South Carolina               295-294--589

6. North Texas                    304-289--593

7. Washington.                   295-301--596

8. NC State.                        301-302--603

9. Minnesota                       312-298--610

 10. Kentucky                       311-303--624       


1. Maria Jose Marin, Arkansas       67-67--134 

2. Julia Lopez Ramirez, Miss. St.   71-66--137

3. Miriam Ayora, Arkansas.            70-70--140

4. Ela Anacona, Arkansas #2         68-73--141

T5. Camille Boyd, Washington       72-70--142

T5. Abbe Schutte. Ark. #2              71-71--142

T5. Mason Lewis, No. Texas          72-70--142

T5. Camille Boyde, Washington.     72-70--142

9. Laney Frye, Kentucky                 74-70--144

30. Megan Furtney, Minnesota        76-75--151

T31. Hailey Loh, Minnesota.           77-75--152

T33. Bella McCauley, Minn.  

37. Grace Curran, Minnesota           82-72--154

45. Sara Tomaszewski, Minnesota 



Michael R Fermoyle

Mike Fermoyle’s amateur golf career features state titles in five different decades, beginning with the State Public Links (1969), three State Amateurs (1970, 1973 and 1980), and four State Four-Ball championships (1972, 1985, 1993 and 2001). Fermoyle was medalist at the Pine to Palm in 1971, won the Resorters in 1972, made the cut at the State Amateur 18 consecutive years (1969 to 1986), the last being 2000, and amassed 13 top-ten finishes. Fermoyle also made it to the semi-final matches at the MGA’s annual match play championship, the Players’, in 1982 and 1987.

Fermoyle enjoyed a career as a sportswriter at the St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch before retiring in 2006. Two years later he began a second career covering the golf beat exclusively for the MGA and its website,, where he ranks individual prep golfers and teams, provides coverage on local amateur and professional tournaments and keeps tabs on how Minnesotans are faring on the various professional tours.

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