FREMONT, Neb. – Entering the day six strokes off the conference lead, the Concordia University men’s golf team hoped to keep up with the big boys at Monday’s GPAC Qualifier No. 2 held at Fremont Golf Club in Fremont, Neb. The Bulldogs’ team total of 312 placed them sixth on the day and fifth after two of four 2014-15 GPAC rounds complete.
A rough front nine prevented head coach Brett Muller’s squad from having a chance to keep pace with Midland, which shot an impressive 292 in perfect weather conditions on its home course.
“We just got off to too bad of a start on the front nine,” Muller said. “It really took us out of position to shoot a low team score, but I’m proud of how we regrouped the rest of the day. We were only four-over-par on the back nine. We were just in too big of a hole.”
Individually, freshman Russell Otten topped Concordia with a 74 on Monday. He entered the day tied for 11th and now has a two-round GPAC total of 74-75–149. Otten has moved up into a tie for eighth overall.
While the 312 team score represented a 12-stroke increase from the 300 the Bulldogs carded in each of their last two meets, it still bettered all four GPAC rounds from the 2013-14 season. The limiting factor on Monday was the inability of any individuals creep down into the low 70s as had been the case in GPAC No. 1.
“Out of Russell, Shawn (Rodehorst) and Reid (Wiebe), we typically have someone shoot a 74 or better. That just didn’t happen today,” Muller said. “But if you would have told me after the first nine holes that we would shoot a 312, I would have taken it today.”
Two Bulldogs followed Russell Otten with scores in the 70s on Monday – freshman Tyler Ehresman (77) and Rodehorst (79). Rodehorst, an all-conference performer two years running, has a 36-hole score of 73-79–152, putting him position to make another all-GPAC run. He sits in 17th. Ehresman has carded a 78-77–155 (tied for 23rd) halfway through GPAC competition.
The other two spots in Monday’s lineup were held down by junior Matt Otten (81) and Wiebe (82). It was Otten’s first career GPAC qualifier round. Wiebe has carded a total of 75-82–157 in league qualifiers.
All five Bulldogs improved their scores on the back nine at Fremont Golf Club. The group of five combined for a total of 204 on the front nine and then a 190 on the back nine. Ehresman turned in a 36 on his back nine to lead Concordia.
Now 21 strokes off of first-place Midland’s two-round lead, it won’t be easy for Concordia to achieve its aim of winning the conference and reaching the national championships.
“Heading into the second semester, our goal will definitely be to move up the standings,” Muller said. “After today we’re a ways back from Midland. It will be tough to chase them down.”
Through seven rounds this fall, Rodehorst has the Bulldogs’ top season average at 75.57. Wiebe (76.0) and Russell Otten (77.0) trail close behind.
The Bulldogs conclude the fall season Oct. 10-11 at the Nebraska Intercollegiate Meet set to take place at the Norfolk Country Club in Norfolk, Neb. Two more GPAC qualifiers will be held during the spring of 2015 to determine the conference champion.