Bulldogs break school record, finish runner up at Blue River Classic

By Jacob Knabel on Sep. 21, 2016 in Men's Golf

LINCOLN, Neb. – Though faced with windy and muggy conditions, the Concordia University men’s golf team made itself cozy at its home course on Wednesday, which marked the second and final day of the Blue River Classic. The Bulldogs turned in a school record 18-hole team score of 288 in round two held at Highlands Golf Course in Lincoln and leapt into a second-place overall finish amongst the field of 15 squads.

Concordia has already carded three team scores below 300 this fall for head coach Brett Muller. In this week’s tournament co-hosted with Doane, the Bulldogs recorded a two-round total of 305-288–593. Led by senior Reid Wiebe’s personal best four-under-par 68 on Wednesday, Concordia defeated all seven GPAC rivals at the Blue River Classic. The Bulldogs had entered the day in fourth place.

“The GPAC as a whole is very deep,” Muller said. “We obviously had an advantage playing on our home course today. It just shows you how competitive we can be in the GPAC. If we go out and play well, we can be in the hunt for a GPAC championship.”

It was Wiebe who stole the show at Highlands, carding the top score of any individual over the course of round two. He bounced back impressively after shooting a 79 at Wilderness Ridge on Tuesday and moved into fifth place on the final leaderboard. Wiebe took advantage of his powerful stroke off the tee and avoided putting himself in trouble spots.

Sophomore Nolan Zikas just missed claiming the third tournament victory of his career. He was the most consistent Bulldog at the Blue River Classic, turning in a 73-71–144 to place him runner up and just a single stroke off of medalist Noah Hoffman of Southeast Community College. It’s been an impressive run for Zikas, whose play really took off this past spring.

“It was a big accomplishment today,” Zikas said of the team record. “The conditions weren’t easy either. Doing it at our home course was awesome as well. We kind of knew we were getting close to it as the day went on. Coach just told us to finish the round, and that’s what we did.”

Freshman Tylar Samek has provided a nice boost this season. He followed Zikas and Wiebe and tied for eighth overall by way of a 74-75–149. The rest of Concordia’s first grouping included senior Jared Knoepfel (79-79–158; T-33rd place) and junior Russell Otten (85-74–159; T-39th). Four of Concordia’s top five improved their scores in round two.

Concordia’s second grouping turned in a solid 311 while slashing 35 strokes off of its score from Tuesday’s round. Tyler Ehresman (84-75–159) and Alec Hanson (86-74–160) were neck and neck for the lowest total among the Bulldogs’ ‘next’ five.

Concordia hopes Wednesday’s performance will springboard them in their next outing – the GPAC fall tournament, Oct. 3-4, in Sioux Falls, S.D.

“If this were a GPAC, we would have won,” Zikas said. “It gives us a lot of confidence and a lot of motivation to keep practicing and hopefully go out and win the GPAC.”