FREMONT, Neb. – “We were mudders today,” Concordia University head golf coach Bret Muller quipped after Tuesday’s sloppy weather resulted in a 90-minute delay during the Midland Invite at Fremont Golf Club. While conditions were messy, the play of the Bulldog men’s golf team was anything but, as it carded a 300 for the second-straight meet – good enough to tie for second among 24 teams in the field.
Individually, freshman Russell Otten of Centennial, Colo., built off the 74 he shot at the Sept. 19 GPAC qualifier and carded a two-under-par 69 to win medalist honors in Fremont on Tuesday. That score ties senior Shawn Rodehorst for the best individual performance by a Bulldog this season.
“That was a great performance,” Muller said of Otten. “His ball-striking was fantastic. He hit 10 of 18 greens and had 25 total putts. He putted well and he had solid iron play. He had four birdies and only two bogeys.”
With Otten’s 69 and three identical scores of 77, Concordia carried over its momentum from the first GPAC qualifier when it set a program record for lowest score at a conference meet.
“The 300 today was fantastic,” Muller said. “The guys were actually a little bit disappointed when they went back through some shots here and there. A 295 is very realistic for us. Our guys are very hungry. They’ve made it their goal to win the GPAC.”
The three Bulldogs to turn in 77s on Tuesday were Rodehorst, sophomore Reid Wiebe and junior Matt Otten, a transfer from Central Community College. Each of them tied for 28th among the 125 golfers at the Midland Invite. The first Concordia grouping was rounded out by freshman Tyler Ehresman, who posted an 80 to tie for 52nd.
The second grouping of Bulldogs was paced by sophomore Jared Knoepfel’s 81. The remainder of the lineup included freshman Payton DeVencenty (83), junior Garrett Suchanek (83), sophomore Grant Worthington (85) and junior Brock Colclasure (86). The second Concordia team turned in a team score of 332 for an 18th-place finish.
Tuesday’s round served as a preview of GPAC Qualifier No. 2, which will be also be held at Fremont Golf Club and take place on Monday, Sept. 29. With a 300 in the first qualifier, the Bulldogs sit in fourth place, just one stroke off of second and six off of first-place Nebraska Wesleyan. Muller plans to use the same five who made up Tuesday’s first grouping in Fremont.
Rain or shine, Muller is confident his team will respond.
“It wasn’t fun today,” Muller said of the chilly and wet conditions. “I’m proud of our guys for settling in and battling through the elements.”