Warian Is Medalist & Gophers Are Team Champs at Highland Meadows

April 16, 2024 | 6 min.
By Michael R Fermoyle

SYLVANIA, Ohio -- Ben Warian and his University of Minnesota teammates played so well on Monday during the first two rounds of the Highland Meadows Intercollegiate that by the time all the scorecards were signed, all that was left to do on Tuesday was to see who was going to finish second.

For his part, Warian lit up the Highland Meadows course with a 6-under-par 65 in the first round and was even better in a second-round 63. That gave him a school-record 36-hole score of 128. He followed it with a 70 on Tuesday, and that gave the Gopher senior from Stillwater another record, this time for his 54-hole total of 198, which was good enough for a five-stroke victory, the first victory of his college career. 

Warian, a former Minnesota state high school Class AA runner-up (he went to high school at Hill-Murray), did the majority of his damage Monday on the front nine at Highland Meadows, making five birdies on the par-37 outward nine in each of the first two rounds while shooting a pair of 32s. He added one more birdie in the morning round on the way to his 65. Somewhat surprisingly, he had two bogeys on the back nine Monday afternoon, but he also made five birdies, all of them in a span of six holes (11 through 16), on the way to that 63.

He started Tuesday's round with a bogey at the 376-yard, par-4 first hole, and was 2 over for the day after another  bogey at the 203-yard, par-3 fifth. If that created any doubt about who was going to win the individual title, he pretty much settled the matter with birdies at the par-5 ninth (531 yards) and the par-3 11th (166). Warian capped off his victory with a another birdie on a par 3, the 152-yard 17th. 

As for the contest for second place, St. Thomas senior Matt Armstrong claimed it with a final-round 67 and an aggregate of 203. Armstrong, the son of former PGA Tour regular -- and 2004 Minnesota State Open champ -- Ty Armstrong, claimed his first individual state championship last year in the State Publinx at Royal Golf Club, where he birdied the first hole of a playoff to edge the defending -- and three-time -- champion, Max Tylke. (Armstrong got his first state title when he and Cole Nasby combined to win the MGA Four-Ball in 2022.) 

On Monday, Armstrong had started off well enough, with three birdies in his first nine holes, but four bogeys in his next six holes led to a first-round 71. The last of those bogeys came at the par-3 15th (193), and he bogeyed it again in the second round. But that was the only bogey he made over his last 39 holes while playing them in 11 under.

Danny Fisher, a senior at Miami (Ohio), was another three behind Armstrong in third place, after closing with a 71.

One behind him, at 207, were a couple of mystery guests -- Piercen Hunt and Jerry Ji. Both play for Illinois, which did not enter this tournament as a team, but Hunt and Ji were both playing as individuals.

Besides Warian, Minnesota had one other player in the top 10. Bennett Swavely, a junior from Hudson, followed an opening 71 with a 68 and a 69 and finished sixth at 208, which helped the Gophers remain comfortably at the front of the pack in the team competition. Having shot 275 (9 under) and 273 on Monday, they could do no better than 285 in the single round on Tuesday. Miami put together a 279, but Minnesota still won the team championship by nine shots over the RedHawks with an overall 833.

Indian Hills CC started the day in second but dropped back into third with a valedictory 291 and two-day total of 846, four behind Miami. St. Thomas had the low score Tuesday in the field of 11 teams with a 276, and finished fourth at 854, two ahead of fifth-place North Dakota State. 

Waryan's individual triumph was the first by a Gopher since the Angus Flanagan, the All-American from Woking, England, won the Git R Done Husker Invitational in the spring of 2021. This was the first team title for Minnesota since the Gophers won the MacDonald Cup in the fall of 2022.   

Highland Meadows Intercollegiate

At Highland Meadows Golf Club

Par 71, 6,719 yards

Sylvania, Ohio

Final results

1. Minnesota                      275-273-285--833

2. Miami (Ohio)                  287-276-279--842

3. Indian Hills CC              284-271-291--846

4. St. Thomas                    295-283-276--854

5. NDSU                            285-288-283--856

6. Bowling Green               290-286-288--864

7. Ohio                               295-282-289--866

8. Youngstown State          290-282-296--868

9. Bucknell                         290-301-290--881

10. Niagara                        309-303-312--924

11. St. Francis                   320-312-318--950

Individual results 

1. Ben Warian, Minnesota              65-63-70--198

2. Matt Armstrong, St. Thomas      71-65-67--203

3. Danny Fisher, Miami                   68-67-71--206

T4. Piercen Hunt, Ill.                       68-67-72--207 (indiividual only)

T4. Jerry Ji., Ill.                                67-69-71--207 (individual only)


T12. Nate Adams, NDSU                68-73-70--211

T12. Owen Rexing , NDSU              72-71-68--211

T12. Jack Wetzel, Minnesota         71-73-67--211

T18. Jack Johnson, NDSU             72-71-70--213

T26. Jacob Pederson, Minnesota   68-74-73--215

T26. Gavin Newkirk, St. Thomas     72-73-70--215

T28. Jake Skarperud, NDSU           72-72-72--216

T31. Eduardo Galdos, Minnesota    75-68-74--217

T34. Josh Galvin, NDSU                  73-72-73--218

T40. Zach Roleau, St. Thomas        73-72-75--220

T42. Cormac Sharpe, Minnesota      71-77-73--221

T46. Ian Simonich, NDSU                 75-76-71--222

T54. Will Frazier, St. Thomas            84-74-71--227

T62. Gavin Cronkhite, NDSU             86-72-73--231

68. Mason Rolloff, Minnesota            79-75-82--236

Michael R Fermoyle

Mike Fermoyle’s amateur golf career features state titles in five different decades, beginning with the State Public Links (1969), three State Amateurs (1970, 1973 and 1980), and four State Four-Ball championships (1972, 1985, 1993 and 2001). Fermoyle was medalist at the Pine to Palm in 1971, won the Resorters in 1972, made the cut at the State Amateur 18 consecutive years (1969 to 1986), the last being 2000, and amassed 13 top-ten finishes. Fermoyle also made it to the semi-final matches at the MGA’s annual match play championship, the Players’, in 1982 and 1987.

Fermoyle enjoyed a career as a sportswriter at the St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch before retiring in 2006. Two years later he began a second career covering the golf beat exclusively for the MGA and its website, mngolf.org, where he ranks individual prep golfers and teams, provides coverage on local amateur and professional tournaments and keeps tabs on how Minnesotans are faring on the various professional tours.

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