As a high school golfer at Hayden High School, Riley Piles was a part of one 4A state championship and two more second-place finishes. Tuesday at the Division II National Championship Preview in Noblesville, Ind., he added another golf accomplishment to his repertoire, with his first individual victory in a college tournament.
“It feels pretty good,” said Piles, who finished second in a tournament earlier this season after losing to teammate Dustin Yeager in a playoff. “It’s a little bittersweet with the team not doing so well but it’s a big stepping stone in my college career.”
The Ichabods, which began the final round of the two-day tournament at the Sagamore Club in second, finished fifth overall as a team with a score of 626, four shots back of second place Bellarmine. MIAA rival Central Missouri ran away with the tournament with a score of 610 as a team.
Piles, who was tied for the individual lead after day one, won the tourney by shooting a 75 and 73 for a 4-over 148, one shot ahead of Casey Pine of Lewis. Piles leads the team in stroke average for 2009 at 73.8 and has had the highest finish for the Bods in each of the three tournaments he’s played this season.
Other individual results for the Bods included Yeager, who finished in a tie for 13th with a pair of 78’s for a 12-over 156 and Brian Walker, who tied for 38th with a 78 and 82 for 160 overall. Also for the Bods, Nate Hoefflin finished tied for 46th with an 83 and 79 (162), and Nate Sargent rounded out the Washburn individuals tying for 70th with a 169 (86-83).
The Ichabods will close out the fall season next Monday and Tuesday at the Fort Hays State Invitational. The MIAA points tournament will be the last competition until March for Washburn.
“We’re just going to practice putting and chipping. The easy shots are the ones that killed us this week. The ones in the wind,” said Yeager, a senior who has the second highest stroke average for WU in 2009 at 75.8. “We’ll have to reevaluate and go from there. Obviously we’d love to do a little better and beat Central next week.”