Special to the Herald
The Clinton Herald
---- — ST. CHARLES, Mo. – Led by top-five finishes from freshmen Matt Chiasson and Sergio Garcia, the Ashford men’s golf team opened the season with a fourth-place showing Saturday at the University of Illinois-Springfield Invitational at Missouri Bluffs Golf Course. On the women’s side, senior Courtney Gieseman earned a top-10 finish as Ashford finished sixth overall with a team score of 344.
The Saints’ men’s team shot a 300 to finish three strokes off the winning pace. Chiasson, from Cambridge, Ontario, fired an even-par 71 to finish in fourth place individually. It marked the best finish of Chiasson’s young career, surpassing the sixth-place finish he earned at the NAIA Midwest Invitational on Oct. 15. Garcia, from Las Arenas, Spain, Garcia also carded his best career finish, shooting a 72 to tie for fifth place.
Freshmen Ben Thornton and Matt Thomsen shot 78s to finish in a tie for 37th place. Junior Ryan Hilton carded a 79 to tie for 50th and freshman Pedro Velasco’s 81 earned him a tie for 65th.
Gieseman, from Coal Valley, Ill., paced the AU women with an 83 to earn a tie for ninth place. One shot behind her was freshman Laura Stair, whose 84 earned a tie for 11th place.
Sophomore Katie Thompson tied for 22nd with an 88, while junior Katelyn Gille’s 89 took 26th. Taylor Stewart rounded out the scoring with a 93 to finish in 32nd place.
Freshman Stephanie Stair (90) and sophomore Alizabeth Fiorini (99) each competed as individuals.
Both teams will tee it up next March 28 and 29 at the Graceland Invitational at Mozingo Lakes Golf Course in Maryville, Mo.