By Alyssa Kerry
The men’s golf team achieved a series of record breaking tournaments and scores through-out the season. The high level of success during the fall season is leading the Statesmen to be in a good position when the spring season arrives during their first tournament in late March.
After losing three letter winner’s last season, Spencer Skipper, Ben Roberts and Justin Bothma, the statesmen were looking to fill in those sports with newcomers. The team started off the year with a strong number of returners within the program, as well as a number of recruits that Coach Tucker believed would be an asset to the team. Bringing in freshman Zachary Chegwidden from England, sophomore Skylar Cunningham and transfer student junior Sebastian Rulis from Denmark.
In the season opener for the squad at the Preserve Golf Course, the Statesmen tied in second place out of 13 teams shooting a team total of 295. Leading the team was senior Clay Tucker who shot a four-under 68, to be just one shot off of the leader. Tucker was closely followed by fellow Statesmen junior, Frederik Lundsgaard, coming in with a one-under 70.
Following Tucker’s four-under 68 at the Preserve he was awarded with the Heart of America Athletic Conference golfer of the week. The four-under score for Tucker was his first time breaking par in a college event.
In a 27-hole shootout the Statesmen took advantage of being on their own turf finishing first out of seven teams with a 27-hole score of four-under collectively. Shooting a 416 (137-279) for the 27-hole score. The 279 broke the 18 hole program record of 286. The Statesmen not only took first place in the team event, but individually took first, second and third.
Leading the squad was Lundsgaard with a four under 31 at Harvest Point and a one under 69 at Edmundson a grand total of 100 between the 27 holes. Lundsgaard was shortly followed by Zachary Chegwidden who shot a total of 102 and Clay Tucker was third with a one over 106.
On September 20th, the squad competed at the Central Methodist invitational placing third out of eight teams with a two-day total of 582. The 582 total is a new school mark according to par which was +18 and is now at +14. Lundsgaard lead the team with a first day total of six under, 65 and even par on the second day. Lundsgaard finished first in the 47 player field. Zachary Chegwidden was in 10th place shooting a total of 146. Sebastlan Rulis tied for 17th a 149, Clay Tucker was in a tie for 23rd at 152 and senior Kyle Hashlmoto rounded up the varsity scoring in a tie for 28th at 158.
Lundsgaard was the Heart of America Athletic Conference Men’s Golfer of the week following his first place finish at Central Methodist. Lundsgaard won his fourth career honor, by breaking the 18-hole school record at six under, and also broke he 36-hole record by following his first round with an even, second round.
Junior, Frederik Lundsgaard said, “we worked a lot on scoring, make more birdies, we are out there to shot low, not to protect a semi decent score. We also extended our strength and conditioning workout to be in season instead of only offseason. This helped us to still have some energy to preform on those final holes.”
The Statesmen topped the field at the Clarke Classic coming back on the second day with all four counting scores under the 80 mark. The course played very tough with the extreme whether conditions. Leading the Statesmen was Zachary Chegwidden with a two-day total of 152. Chegwidden was followed by Sebastian Rulis (154), Frederik Lundsgaard (157), junior Peter Federiksen (163).
Lundsgaard said, “some of the things that we did well this season was keep fighting even though conditions were tough and we were not playing our best.”
At the Missouri Valley Invitational the Statesmen placed third out of 11 teams with a team total of 300. Federik Lundsgaard and Sebastian Rulis tied in fifth with a score of 73.
Followed by Clay Tucker and Brandon Dizon who tied in 20th at 77.
October 10th was the William Penn Classic, as the squad hosted some of the top teams in the division. The Statesmen finished in first place after being in fourth on the first day of the tournament. The squad was able to come back and win by one stroke. With a two-day team total of 573 beating their previous recorded breaking tournament score by 1 stroke as well. Zachary Chegwidden topped the 60 player field, breaking the lowest score ever in the program history at 134. Chegwidden shot 66-68 which was six under on the course, but at six under he tied Lundsgaard’s previous record according to par. The team finished with all players in the top half of the tournament. Chegwidden was followed by Lundsgaard who finished in seventh with a total of 143, Clay Tucker finished with in 12th overall, Brandon Dizon was in 18th and Sebastian Rulis tied for 29th.
Following his outstanding record breaking round at the William Penn Classic, Zachary Chegwidden was awarded as the Heart of America Athletic Conference Men’s Golfer of the week. Chegwidden said, “I feel this season went great for the team and for me as an individual.”
At the NAIA preview the Statesmen placed sixth out of 20 team with a two-day total of 622 at TPC Deere Run Golf Course. Individually Chegwidden tied for medalist honors in the 100 player field with a total of even-par 144. Chegwidden unfortunately lost in the play off, on the second hole. Lundgaard was not far behind in 15th place with a score of 153 for the two-days, followed by Tucker in 35th, Dizon in 77th and Rulis in 84th.
November 18th the midseason Bushnell Golfweek Coaches Poll was released, the Statesmen moved up to #35 in the unofficial poll jumping two spots in the previous poll. According to Lundsgaard “this tournament (NAIA preview) had several national ranked teams, after two days on a tough course we had beat some of these teams. This effort had in important impact on the great move we made in the rankings this season moving from 71 to 35.”
The squad is going to continue to work hard during the off season to be prepare to come back during the spring season, to do this according to Zachary Chegwidden “in the off season we are working out 3 times a week as a team so we can build our fitness up for the next season.”
In the spring Lundsgaard said, “we will be playing some new and bigger tournaments with better teams so we can get more experience and have a chance to move up in the rankings.”