The Missouri Western Women’s Golf team finished fourth in the MIAA Championships. The Griffons had all five girls finish in the top 35 of the tournament. Freshman Shi Qing Ong finished tied for eighth in the tournament, shooting a 238. Ong’s best round was her final round, when she finished with a 73. Her score was the best of any golfer that round. Madison Romjue wasn’t far behind Ong, finishing 13th in the tournament with a 244 in three rounds. Celine Lim finished with a 247 and Callie Wilson shot a 252. Coach Greg Dillon has been impressed with the way Ong has played all season. “You know I think that Shi Qing has a chance to win the Division II championship,” Dillon said. Lindenwood finished 12 strokes ahead of the Western for third place, but finished 10 strokes ahead of Central Missouri for fourth place. First place belonged to Northeastern State University, recording a 922. The second place team also reigns from Oklahoma. The Bronchos of Central Oklahoma recorded a score of 902. Baylee Price of Northeastern was the individual winner of the tournament. Price finished with a 219, giving the RiverHawk her fourth title of the season. Second place went to Central Missouri’s Elizabeth Leath. The women’s team will compete in the 2016 NCAA Central Super Regional in Axtell, Neb., May 2-4. “I believe the biggest challenge for us will be getting through that first weekend,” Dillon said. It is the women’s first trip to the tournament and their confidence is high that they can keep advancing in the tournament. “We just have to remember it’s one tournament, Dillon said. It’s a new season and opportunity for us.” The men’s golf team finished seventh in the men’s championship. Western recorded a 917 at Tiffany Greens Golf Club. “I thought we should have finished a little higher in the tournament," Dillon said. "We struggled early and the weather was really a factor.” The Griffon’s best score came from Corey Knight, recording a 223, good for 10th. Ryan Hand finished 22nd in the tourney with 229. Cole Roberts shot a 236 and Jakob Rudosky finished with a 237. “Ryan got behind early, but he battled back in the tournament,” Dillon said. Central Oklahoma won the tournament, swinging their way to an 882 team score. Lindenwood finished second, recording an 891 through three rounds. Blake Lammers of Lincoln was the individual winner, shooting a 210 through three rounds.
It's crunch time for the Western men's and women's golf teams. Both squads wrapped up round two of three on Tuesday, April 19. The women have taken sole possession of fourth place after an impressive 322 round. An improvement of 19 strokes made all the difference for the Griffons. The women went into Tuesday's round tied with Central Missouri for fourth after firing a 341 team score in the first round. Celine Lim and Shi Qing Ong wrapped up the first round tied for 14th place overall after both shooting 83. Lim shot 80 in round two, holding firm at 14th overall with a 163 score. Qing Ong was narrowly behind her, shooting 82 in round two. She sits at 17th place overall. Madison Romjue, how shot an 88 on day one, improved with a 78 on day two. With a score of 166, she is tied for 18th overall. Western wrapped up day two with a 663 overall, moving 10 points ahead of Central Missouri. Lindenwood holds the No. 3 spot with 646. Central Oklahoma sits tight at the No. 2 spot with a 633, while Northeastern State has a 605 going into the final round. As for the men, the Griffons have taken over seventh place at the end of day two with a 613. Corey Knight entered day two tied for third overall after shooting a 74 in the first round. He shot a 76 in round two and now sits at 15th overall with a score of 150. Ryan Hand shot an 80 in the first round, but cleaned up for a 74 on day two. He now sits tied at 26th with a 154. The race for first is much closer for the men. Western is only one stroke behind Northeastern State for sixth, and six strokes behind Nebraska-Kearney for fifth. Washburn hold down third with a 602. Central Missouri and Lindenwood are tied for second with 595 each. Central Oklahoma sits tight at first with 585. Both teams will wrap up the MIAA Championships with the final round on Wednesday, April 20.
After a long winter break Western’s men were back in action. The team traveled to Oklahoma City for the Broncho Invitational where the team finished tenth. The weather was a big factor according to coach Greg Dillon. “The wind that I saw was as bad as I’ve ever seen,” Dillon said. The Griffons finished with a team score of 675 on the par 72 course. Leading the Griffons was Jakob Rudosky, who recorded a 162 score in two rounds. Rudosky finished 12th individually, shooting and 80 and 82. “Jakob has been a real big surprise this spring,” Dillon said. “We’ve been expecting him to have a breakout year.” Ryan Hand had the second best score on the team and placed 22nd in the tournament with a score of 163. Then there was Corey Knight who finished 46th in the tournament with a score of 168. “Ryan is still in the hunt for a regional championship,” Dillon said. Oklahoma Christian won the tournament with a team score of 631 in the two round tourney. Central Oklahoma finished second with a score of 632 and third was Southwestern Oklahoma State with a score of 639. The team will return to action on April 4 for the Henderson State tournament in Mountain Home, Ark., at The Big Creek Golf Course. “We’ve had a pretty good start to the spring,” Dillon said. “But we’re looking for more.” The women’s team traveled to Axtell, Neb., for the UNK Spring Invite. The team finished ninth in the tournament with a team score of 646 over two rounds. Shi Qing Ong finished with the best individual score on the team, shooting 153 in her two rounds. Ong finished in 11th place individually. “Shi Qing has really stepped-up her game and she is really fun to watch,” Dillon said. Senior Callie Wilson was second on the team, shooting 163 and Madison Romjue was third on the team scoring a 164. Northeastern State University won the tournament with a team score of 607. The RiverHawks also produced the individual champion, Baylee Price. Price scored a 145 in the two-day event. The women will join the men in Arkansas for the Henderson State University Invitational. “We’ve got more regional tournaments and the conference tournament ahead of us,” Dillon said. “Our focus is to go after some of the top schools in the region.”
Griffon golf wrapped up their successful fall season and headed into the off-season looking to build upon their solid foundation. The women’s golf team finished all five tournaments in the top 10 including two top five finishes, with their highest place being second in their last match. Their high level of play has excited head coach Greg Dillon for the coming spring season. “We’re attaining some levels that we’ve never attained before,” said Dillon. “We’re finally getting closer and closer to where we might be able to compete with the Central Oks [Oklahoma] and Northeasterns for a conference championship. We’re just right behind them right now.” Freshman sensation Shi Qing Ong has already made an impact on the team. In her first five tournaments as a Griffon she has finished in the top 10 three times with two fourth place finishes and an eighth place finish. She has also placed in the top 15 twice with two 13th place finishes. Her consistent play has given Ong a position in the top 100 NCAA division II women golfers in the nation. Ong’s high level of play has even surprised Dillon. “We knew Shi Qing was going to be good, but we didn’t realize she was going to be this good,” Dillon said. “As a freshman, there’s no telling how far this kid can go.” Right behind Ong is sophomore Celine Lim who also put together a solid fall year. Lim compiled four top 20 finishes with two of those in the top 10 at ninth and third. “She’s just outside of the 100 [national ranking] and she’s just a sophomore, so it’s fun to watch.” Dillon said. The men’s golf team stung together their own solid fall season with two top 10 finishes, at fifth and sixth, as well as three top 15 finishes. Griffon top golfer Ryan Hand had three top 15 finishes including a fourth place finish at the MWSU Holiday Inn Express Classic. Golfers Corey Knight and Jakob Rudosky, whose best finishes were fourth and 27th respectively, round out Western’s top three this season. Dillon believes that the men need to play at their best at the same time in order for them to be more consistent. “What we’re hoping for in the spring with those three kids is to get them all playing well all at the same time, instead of each individually and they’re extremely close to attaining that,” Dillon said. Also, in the off-season, Dillon plans to find the most important piece for each team to be successful in the spring. “We just have to get the top three [players], that’s the whole key, getting those top three.” Dillon said. Western will have the opportunity to test their best top three from both teams when they begin their spring season.
He picked up a club when he was a toddler, and it has been hard to get it out of his hand every since. "My dad started me when I was about five-years old," Hand said. "Around 10 years of age we started to play in competitive tournaments around Kansas City." Hailing from Savannah, Missouri, Ryan Hand has always been fond of competition. After graduating from Savannah High School, Hand continued to play recreational golf, while also playing golf in junior college before coming to Western. "This will be my second year at Missouri Western," Hand said. "I played junior college golf in Dodge City, Kansas and then transferred here after two years. I love competition golf and I love recreational golf. It is an important part of my life." One of the highlights of last season for Hand was sharing a first place tie in the MWSU Holiday Inn Express Classic. Hand was competitive throughout the year, finishing in the top-25 in three other tournaments. Earlier this October, he placed fourth in this year's MWSU Holiday Inn Express Classic. He credits the recent success of the golf program to good coaching and his teammates. "It has been a lot of fun," Hand said. "My teammates, we're pretty close. So, there is never a dull moment really. We know how to have fun." That positive energy may have trickled down from the coach. Hand noted that head coach Greg Dillon's positive attitude keeps the team motivated to play. "Our coaches are constantly pushing us to be better," Hand said. "It has been a good experience here. [Dillon] is a really good guy and keeps things positive every time. Even if you have a bad shot, he finds a way to pick you back up." The person who first put the club in his hand is also his caddy during tournaments. It's a tradition that started when he was just 10-years old. "My dad is my caddy for the tournaments," Hand said. "It has been a real good father-and-son bond. Over the years, we have been all over the country. He has been there with me every step, along with my mom. She comes to most of them, when she can." The future for golf at Western looks encouraging according to Hand. He noted that the program is continuing to grow and the younger guys are ready to compete in bigger tournaments. "I expect the younger guys will stay hungry and continue to try to turn the program around," Hand said. "Hopefully we can get a team in here for a Regional."