Bender leads Storm to second at Blackburn

Blake Bender
Blake Bender

WOOD RIVER, Ill. -- Blake Bender carded a team-best 76 in the final round to place fourth and lead the Simpson men's golf team to a second-place finish at the Blackburn Invitational from Lockhaven Golf Course.

Simpson shot 648 in the two-round tournament to open the spring season, turning in a 326 Saturday and closing with a 322 Sunday. The Storm finished behind tournament champion Knox, which won the tournament with a 36-hold total of 615.

Bender's 4-over 76 represented the lowest round of the weekend for the Storm. He opened the tournament with a 78, closing the weekend at 154, just four strokes back of tournament medalist Duncan Wheeler of Knox.

Nathan Eaton fired back-to-back rounds of 79 to finish with 158, good for eighth in the individual standings. Austin Hronich shaved seven strokes from Saturday's opening round, carding a 79 to finish in 17th place.

Zach Kreider (24th) and Lucas Hemphill (38th) rounded out Simpson's finishers in the field of 42 golfers.

Up Next
Simpson will compete in the Jim Weatherbee Invite in Galesburg, Ill. on Friday and Saturday, March 29-30. 

Storm Scorecard
Blake Bender — 78-76-154, 4th
Nathan Eaton — 79-79-158, 8th
Austin Hronich — 86-79-165, 17th
Zach Kreider — 83-88-171, t-24th
Lucas Hemphill — 97-92-189, 38th