Pirates close win leads to first NAIA tournament appearance


Park Athletics

L-R: Assistant Coach Brian Silcott, Adam Gibson, Dylan Comstock, Raphael Sippel, Guillermo Cervantes, Cholnan Nunya and Head Coach Martha Linscott

For the first time, Park University men’s golf team are the champions of the Heart of America Men’s Golf Conference.

The Pirates won the Heart of America Championship April 24-25 in Moravia, Iowa. This secured their spot in the NAIA Men’s Golf National Championship in Mesa, Ariz. on May 16-19.

The Pirates won with a score of 849 overall, 15 under-par, but had some tough competition and beat Missouri Valley by one stroke. The Pirate scored 284 in the round one, 287 in round two, but managed to shave off nine strokes in round three for a score of 278.

Guillermo Cervantes, junior, helped lead the team and came in 2nd place after all three rounds. He shot 68 in the first round, a new career low for him, then 72 in the second and 70 in the third.

Cervantes has been putting his name in Park’s record books this season and this tournament was no different. His overall score of 210 is the lowest 54-hole tournament score in Park history. He was named as a Heart All-Conference player for this performance.

Earlier this season, Cervantes tied two individual Park records for lowest round score and lowest 36-hole tournament score on April 17 at the Raider Invitational. He was granted a 2023 Heart Golfer of the Week award announced by the conference office on April 24 for this performance.

Raphael Sippel, senior, also ended in the top five at the tournament in 5th place. He shot 69, 71 and 72 for a total score of 212, four under-par. By shooting 69 in the first round, Sippel reached a new career low. For this performance, he also earned a spot as a as a Heart All-Conference player.

Sippel was the only senior who qualified for this tournament. Sippel and the other men’s golf seniors, Ben Spicer and Antoine Martinot, were recognized at the Park Spring Classic on April 4.

Two more Pirates also finished the conference tournament in the top 10. Cholnan Nunya, junior, shot consistently well to end T6. With round scores of 72, 70 and 71, his overall total was 213.

Next, sophomore, Dylan Comstock, finished in T8. His first day on The Preserve on Rathbun Lake course was tough with scores of 75 and 74, ending his first day in 28th place. However, he was able to turn it around set the new lowest round record in Park’s history, breaking the one Cervantes tied last week, with a score of 65 in the third round.

Finally, rounding out the team was freshman Adam Gibson. Gibson came in 51st place with a score of 237 following rounds 79, 78, and 80. Gibson has had a stellar freshman season, so far, earning the first Heart Golfer of the Week title of the 2023 spring season on March 13.

The Stylus wishes the best to the team when they make the trip to Ariz. for the NAIA Men’s Golf National Championship.