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Season Preview: 2020-21 Concordia Men's Golf

By Hunter Corneliusen on Sep. 3, 2020 in Men's Golf

Head Coach: Brett Muller (10th year)
2019-20 GPAC Finish: 7th (336-329–665)
Key Returners:  Drew D’Ercole (Fr.); Jayden Neal (Jr.); Jack Williams (So.).
Key Newcomers: Gavin McWhorter; Jacob Woodmancy; Ivan Yabut.
Key Losses: Jay Gunaseelan; Tylar Samek. 

Season Preview:

Unlike the women’s squad, the Concordia Men’s Golf team did have the luxury of participating in one event this past spring before COVID-19 caused all sporting events' premature cancellation.

“It was very disappointing last year,” Head Coach Brett Muller said. “Our men’s team had just returned from a spring break trip down in Arizona. We got back on a Thursday and basically, on Friday the whole NAIA had shutdown. We really did not have much closure as far as meeting with the team face to face. We did the best we could over zoom. We had team meetings via zoom throughout the rest of the second semester.  It was pretty unfortunate.”

According to the National Golf Foundation, Americans flocked to golf courses as rounds have been up 20 percent since the pandemic began. Many Bulldogs did the same as it represented a chance to improve their game and a sense of normalcy.

 “With campus getting shut down, we have had a lot of guys and girls play a lot of golf from the end of March through the summer,” Muller stated. “The one tough part is the courses are busier than they have been in the past but with the social distancing out of all sports it should be pretty attainable.”

Returning freshman (sophomore academically) Drew D’Ercole tried to make the best out of the situation by improving his game during the quarantine and summer periods.

“It was nice to be able to have classes online because it gave me a little more time in the spring to practice and play a little more,” D’Ercole said. “Having my brother and a couple of buddies around really helped motivate me to keep getting better over the summer and allowed for more swing change time. I was able to get more of a feel to get better for this season.”

After a seventh-place GPAC finish, the Concordia men’s squad is looking improve in 2020-2021. Although the Bulldogs lost Tylar Samek to graduation and Jay Gunaseelan transferred, Muller has high expectations in the returners’ and newcomers’ ability to step up and replace those roles.

“Very similar to our women’s side, losing Tylar Samek who was in our top five the last four years,” Muller said of his expectations. “He was a part of a lot of school records. He will be a tough guy to replace with the experience he has brought in the last four years. Looking at this year, we have a good mix of newcomers and returners. The returners have improved from last year, which is good to see. I think we have some freshmen who will be pushing for some of those top five spots.”

D’Ercole is expected to help pace the Bulldogs this season. The Papillion, Nebraska, product had a strong finish in the lone spring tournament as he recorded a career-best 12th place finish by carding a 5-over par 221.

“Drew had a fantastic spring. He worked very hard with his swing coach,” Muller said. “He really has high expectations for himself. He played a lot of amateur events this summer. He is very excited and has put in the extra time and work.”

The returning duo of sophomore Jack Williams and junior Jayden Neal are also expected to be significant factors, along with the returning trio of D’Ercole, Neal and Willams. Newcomers Gavin McWhorter, Jacob Woodmancy and Ivan Yabut are expected to provide a spark.

The Concordia men tee-off the 2020-2021 season on Sept. 8, at the Blue River Classic in Lincoln, Neb.