OMAHA, Neb. – It’s been a long time coming – and two playoff holes required even more patience – but the Concordia University men’s golf team claimed a tournament championship. The Bulldogs outlasted Nebraska rivals Bellevue and Doane and came out on top amongst the field of 14 squads at the Midland Spring Invitational played at Tiburon Golf Club in Omaha on Tuesday (April 17).
Head coach Brett Muller’s squad shot a 300 in the single-round event. After 18 holes, Concordia, Bellevue and Doane had to break a three-way tie. Ultimately, freshman Kort Steele’s birdie clinched the team victory on the second playoff hole.
“Bellevue’s whole team was on the green. Our whole team was on the green,” Muller said. “A lot of the teams had left because it took us quite a while. We finished at 8:15 after starting our day at 1 o’clock. It was pretty big. We definitely knew when Kort made the putt that it was to win the match.”
Steele and company finished the job less than a week after it let a lead slip away in the middle of the two-round GPAC Spring Preview. Concordia’s highest team place finish in 2017-18 had been a third-place claim at the Siouxland Invite back in September. Not only did the Bulldogs get the best of Doane on Tuesday, they also fended off other GPAC foes such as Midland, Northwestern, Dordt and Morningside.
“Morningside, Northwestern and Doane are all ahead of us in the GPAC race,” Muller said. “That will definitely give us some confidence beating those teams … We had a lot of big putts on that last hole. Nolan (Zikas) made about a 15-footer to save par. Bellevue made a long birdie and then Kort stepped up and made a birdie to essentially clinch the win.”
Steele shot a 73 and placed in a tie for fourth on an individual leaderboard complete with 74 golfers. He was followed in the team’s group of five by Russell Otten (75; T-8th), Zikas (75; T-8th), Tyler Ehresman (77; T-21st) and Tylar Samek (80; T-39th). Bulldogs Jayden Neal (80), Harrison Helmer (96) and Grant Suchanek (97) also competed at Tiburon.
The most important stretch of the season remains with the GPAC Spring Championships set to unfold right at the beginning of next week (April 23-24) at Woodland Hills Golf Course in Eagle, Neb. The Bulldogs are currently in fifth place in the conference standings with their two-round total of 297-318–615. The two fall championship rounds were contested at Willow Run Golf Course in Sioux Falls, S.D.