LINCOLN, Neb. – GPAC Qualifier No. 3 saw steady improvement across the board for head coach Brett Muller’s Bulldog men’s golfers. Concordia placed eighth with a team score of 325 on Monday as it knocked 10 strokes off its performance at the second GPAC qualifier meet. Both sophomore Shawn Rodehorst and junior Sam DeFreece skyrocketed up the individual leaderboard with stellar performances at Wilderness Ridge Golf Course in Lincoln, Neb.
As a team, Concordia remains in 10th after three GPAC rounds with a score of 338-335-325–998.
Rodehorst’s 72 put him one above par, allowing him to place third on a cloudy but warm day in Lincoln. That effort was a six-stroke improvement from his previous GPAC qualifier round and helped him leap from 30th place all the way up to 13th place, 21 strokes off the leader from Northwestern. Rodehorst owns a three-round score of 82-78-72–232 (+18).
“I’m really excited about how Shawn’s been playing, shooting a 72 today and vaulting up 17 spots,” Muller said. “He was a little disappointed with his first two rounds in the fall. His goal before the season was to be all-conference and now he has himself in position to get there.”
DeFreece, a native of Overland Park, Kan., made the biggest jump as he carded a 78 on Monday, 12 strokes lower than the 90 he recorded at GPAC Qualifier No. 2 back in the fall. DeFreece catapulted from 44th to 33rd with his three round total of 85-90-78–253.
“Sam came in in the fall and was playing pretty good,” Muller said. “Then he tapered off a bit but we knew what he was capable of. He’s another guy that improved immensely.”
Freshman Sam Simonson, Concordia’s only other golfer to participate in all three GPAC qualifiers to date, carded an 88 on Monday, just one behind teammate Sam Mayhall for third best among Bulldog golfers. Simonson sits in 37th place with a consistent three round 87-89-88–264.
Mayhall, who did not compete in either fall GPAC qualifier, posted an 87 on Thursday. Meanwhile, freshman Mitchell Volk came in next with an 89. He also carded an 85 in the first GPAC qualifier.
Freshmen Garrett Suchanek (82 at GPAC Qualifier No. 2) and Brock Colclasure (86-86–172 at first two GPAC qualifiers) have also participated in GPAC competition during the 2012-13 season. With Mayhall added to the lineup on Monday, the Bulldogs have now used seven different individuals at the three qualifier meets.
“We’ve talked about it as a team that we know we’re going to have Shawn shoot low to mid-70s,” Muller said. “We need another guy to get into the 70s and then keep everyone else below 85. We just need more consistency from our two through five spots.”
Muller says that eight guys are in competition to grab one of five varsity spots for the final GPAC qualifier to be played on April 25 in Sioux Center, Iowa.
Northwestern extended its team lead atop the standings to 26 strokes over second-place Morningside. The Red Raiders’ Neil Malenke (70-73-68–211) has a five stroke advantage atop the individual standings after turning in the best round on Monday.
The Bulldog women will take their turn at GPAC Qualifier No. 3 on Tuesday in Hastings, Neb. Concordia sits in 11th (415-392–807) in the GPAC after the first two qualifier events of the season. Meanwhile, the men continue their spring season with the Blue River Invite on both Friday and Saturday. Friday’s round will be played in Crete, Neb., before shifting to the Seward Country Club on Saturday.
“Our guys get pretty excited for the Blue River Invite with it being the only home event of the year,” Muller said.