SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Remarkably consistent freshman Tyler Samek led the way on day one as the Concordia University men’s golf team shot a 300 on the opening day of the GPAC Fall Qualifier, held Monday at Willow Run Golf Course in Sioux Falls, S.D. It marked the fourth time already this fall that the Bulldogs have carded a score of 300 or lower.
Heading into Saturday’s second and final round of the opening GPAC event, head coach Brett Muller’s squad trails only Morningside (293) and Northwestern (297) among the 10 men’s golf programs in the conference.
“I would say the 300 is about what we deserved,” Muller said. “We played decent. Nothing great. Nothing terrible. We definitely left some strokes out on the course. Our guys know we can improve tomorrow.”
Both Samek (tied for fifth) and senior Reid Wiebe (tied for eighth) have put themselves in the top 10 after 18 holes of conference qualifier action. Samek shot a 73 while Wiebe followed closely behind with a 74. The top four was tightly grouped for the Bulldogs. Sophomore Nolan Zikas, the reigning GPAC golfer of the week, carded a 76 while junior Russell Otten turned in a 77. The team’s No. 5, senior Jared Knoepfel, rounded out the lineup with an 85.
It’s been an impressive start in the career of Samek, a native of David City, Neb., who has yet to card a score worse than 77 through his first seven rounds as a collegiate golfer. Samek would love to follow up Zikas and make it two-straight years in which a Concordia freshman has garnered all-conference recognition.
“He’s been extremely consistent this year,” Muller said. “He’s been a guy we can count on every tournament round. We know he’s going to help us in the team race.”
Both Wiebe and Zikas were all-conference performers in 2015-16. They will aim to keep themselves in position for more accolades when action picks back up from Sioux Falls on Tuesday. Tomorrow’s round has been moved up to 9 a.m. CT due to forecasted storms.
“Pretty much every team took a practice round the day before the event,” Muller said. “Competing in against them for three days in a row makes it feel like a bigger event. It’s a much better format than the four one-day events.”