VERMILLION, S.D. – The fourth and final round of the GPAC Championships got underway on Saturday (April 23) morning, but high winds halted play and then led to the cancellation of the round. As a consequence, the conference declared the results final based on the first 54 holes of the tournament. That left the Concordia University Men’s Golf team in sixth place with the help of top individual Ivan Yabut, who tied for fifth in the GPAC.
Head Coach Brett Muller’s squad turned in a three-round conference total of 298-308-313–919. The first two rounds were held back in the fall at Indian Creek Golf Course in Elkhorn, Neb., while the third and final round took place at The Bluffs Golf Course in Vermillion, S.D.
“It was a definite improvement from last year,” Muller said. “We set the school record for season scoring average as a team so that’s a huge compliment to the guys. Looking at the roster we brought for this tournament, we traveled six underclassmen so we have everybody coming back and should be able to build upon this year’s finish. The conference, top to bottom, gets more and more competitive every year.”
Unfortunately, Yabut did not get a chance to make a final round run at a conference title. He started the day three strokes behind co-GPAC champions Sam Storey and Mason Weeks of Morningside. However, Yabut can now lay claim to the best-ever overall conference finish by a Bulldog men’s golfer in GPAC era history (2000-present). While shooting a three-round total of 71-74-74–219 (+3) and tying for fifth, Yabut outperformed other Concordia top 10 placements turned in by the likes of Nolan Zikas (ninth in 2015-16) and Shawn Rodehorst (eighth in 2012-13).
Said Muller, “Ivan was right there in the hunt. Being three shots back with 18 holes left, you never know what can happen. With the conditions we’ve had the past couple of days, it’s anybody’s game at that point. He was looking forward to going out and competing and giving himself a chance to win the conference title.”
Next best for the Bulldogs on the 2021-22 GPAC leaderboard was freshman Justin Webert, who shot 81-72-78–231 and placed in a tie for 22nd (out of 44 competitors who played all three rounds). Others who qualified for the overall leaderboard were Drew D’Ercole (77-82-78–237; T-34th) and Jake Hagerbaumer (76-84-84–244; T-37th). The final spot in the lineup this weekend was held down by Jacob Woodmancy, who shot an 83 on Friday. Jack Williams also competed in the two fall conference rounds and shot 74-80–154.
As mentioned by Muller, the 2021-22 Concordia team set a new program standard for lowest single-season scoring average. That record is now 305.1. The previous program standard was 306.9 by the 2017-18 squad led by Zikas. As for Yabut, he finished the season with a team low scoring average of 74.9.
The varsity season is in the books for Bulldog Men’s Golf. The program did add a junior varsity tournament to the schedule. Select Concordia golfers will be in action at the Union College Tournament at Highlands Golf Course in Lincoln, Neb., on April 29. The GPAC representative at the 2022 NAIA Men’s Golf National Championship will be conference champion Morningside.