The Topeka Country Club was where the men’s golf team took battle this weekend. The Griffons looked to make up ground on the MIAA opponents ahead of them and make a statement that they are here to compete.
The team finished a solid weekend by almost catching fifth place Washburn University and landing close behind them in sixth. The Topeka County Club boasts 6,647 yards of green and is a par-71 course; it looked to be a sizable task for all who tee’d off.
With fresh thoughts of golf glory, the Sunday’s Masters 2015 left the Griffons feeling determined. Missouri Western fixed a problem that they had had in earlier tournament – starting slow – and they came out of the gates fairly strong, finishing sixth on the opening round with a team score of 303.
In round one, senior Scott Sheldon shot 74 at just three over par. In round two, the Griffons ran into finding two extra strokes, giving them 305 for round two and putting them in sixth again for that day.
Coach Greg Dillon spoke on Sheldon.
”Scott really only had one bad hole in the whole tournament and after that hole, he was able to put it behind him. Scott is like a defensive back in football: he may get burned on one play, but the very next it’s behind him and ready to go,” Dillon said.
Sheldon gave an insight on his own performance, and the team’s.
“I was hitting the ball pretty solid all week and gave myself a lot of birdie chances. Fortunately, I was putting pretty well this week, so I was able to cash in on some of those chances. I think as a team we are disappointed in our performance. We just didn’t quite have it this week. We know we can beat most of the teams that finished ahead of us,” Sheldon said.
In round two, several Griffons fell off, but junior Corey Knight found his stride. Knight shot a 73 at just two over par and helped Missouri Western retain the sixth spot.
Day two would be a little easier for all that competed, being that it only consisted of 18 holes instead of 36 like day one. This left the Griffons with one goal on the day: chase down MIAA opponents. Sheldon and Junior Ryan Hand set out to do just that.
Both golfers shot 72 on the day, both going only one over par. Tuesday had all but one of the Griffon golfers posting their best scores of the tournament. Also on day three, tournament host Washburn University lost their early lead on Missouri Western.
As the day went on, Washburn continued to fall and Western continued to rise. Washburn fell to shooting 308 in round three, which was worse than their 299 in round one and 294 in round two. Missouri Western would shoot an outstanding 296 on the day to finish the day in fourth.
The Griffons ended up not catching the Ichabods by a very slim three strokes. All in all, the Griffons left Topeka in sixth place, a finish Dillon called “bittersweet.”
The Griffons will move on to conference and look to put the heat on MIAA rivals, coming off their stronger play as of late. Coach Dillon said they are confident.
“We definitely made some of the other MIAA team notice us; we may not have been much of a threat earlier, but now they see us in the rearview mirror,” Dillon said.
The MIAA championships will begin on April 22 in Lawrence, Kansas, at Alvamar Golf Course.