When the Bellevue University men's golf team goes to the NAIA nationals in mid-May, it's expected to finish in the top 10.
In only their second year, the Bruins have jumped into the fray with an international roster. Jose Vega, a sophomore from Colombia, has the third-best scoring average in the NAIA. In seventh is senior Davis Garner, a Utahan who transferred from NCAA Division I VCU.
Also on the five-man spring squad are senior John Matthews, a South African who played at Iowa Western; freshman Tomas Ovejero from Argentina; and an in-state freshman, Mike Hannon from Hastings St. Cecilia.
“We've had five guys going wall-to-wall this spring and we've won all but one tournament,” Bruins men's coach Rob Brown said. “We've had such tough weather, though, that our scores haven't been reflective of our skill levels.”
Bellevue is ranked 10th in the most recent NAIA coaches poll after reaching No. 1 last fall following a seven-stroke win over previous poll leader Oklahoma City.
Brown is a 1963 Omaha Benson graduate whose career includes stints as head pro at Wakonda Club in Des Moines, Minikahda in Minneapolis and Dismal River in the Nebraska Sand Hills.
Brown said he met Vega in his home country while putting on golf clinics with Omaha teaching pros Juan Elizondo and Tom McAndrew. The coach's international connections have helped Brown land top players from Bolivia and Mexico for next year's team.
The NAIA national tournament begins May 14 in Salem, Ore. Bellevue was 23rd in its debut season.
Calvin Freeman signs with Huskers
Calvin Freeman, who was a junior college All-American last year at Southeast Community College in Beatrice, will play next season for Nebraska.
A two-time Class C runner-up while at Humboldt-Table Rock-Steinauer, he won his regional last year and then finished sixth at nationals.
“He is a strong player with a tremendous work ethic,” Husker coach Bill Spangler said in a press release. “He has improved greatly the last few years.”
Lincoln to host U.S. amputee event
The National Amputee Golfers Association will hold its 65th annual tournament at Wilderness Ridge in Lincoln in August.
Co-director of the tournament is Dick Krapfl of Lincoln, who lost most of his left arm in an auto accident at 20. His wife is NU women's golf coach Robin Krapfl.
The 54-hole event will be Aug. 13 to 15, followed by the International Cup team tournament on Aug. 16. It's the first time the NAGA has taken its tournaments to Nebraska.
Dakota Dunes waiting to reopen river holes
Blame the weather, a Dakota Dunes spokesperson said, for holding up the reopening of the course's flood-damaged 17th and 18th holes.
“As of now we don't have an opening date,” Jessica Weber said. “Unfortunately, spring has not cooperated enough to give us an opportunity to make an accurate assessment.”
Dakota Dunes, west of Sioux City, Iowa, in South Dakota, was flooded by the Missouri River two years ago.
— Stu Pospisil