Concordia head coach Brett Muller inserted three freshmen into his varsity men’s golf lineup and got encouraging results at the two-day Siouxland Invite. As a team, the Bulldogs shot a 312-322–634 to place in tie for ninth out of 17 squads at the Thursday-Friday meet.
The 312 on Thursday marked the best one round score for Bulldog men’s golf in the past two years.
“We’re excited about that,” Muller said. “We also know we have room for improvement. We’re not where we want to be yet.”
Freshman Josh Hinrichs of Hastings, Neb., gave returning all-conference performer Shawn Rodehorst a strong push for the team’s lowest individual score at the meet. Hinrichs actually topped the Bulldogs with a four-over-par 76 on day one, coming in one shot ahead of Rodehorst.
“It was a great individual performance by Josh Hinrichs in his first collegiate meet,” Muller said.
Concordia’s junior star from Kearney, Neb., then delivered a 76 on Friday for a two-day 77-76–153 to tie for 17th among 83 golfers on the individual leaderboard. Hinrichs followed not far behind by carding a 76-83–159, placing him in a tie for 41st.
Rodehorst, who set a school record last season for lowest season average, managed a 77 on day one despite a pair of double bogeys to begin his round and at the start of the back nine.
“He was battling a little bit of a hip injury,” Muller said. “It’s not an excuse he would use though and he would never tell you that it’s bothering him. He’s a competitor and he expects to pick right up where he left off in the spring.”
Jared Knoepfel (T51 – 80-82–162) and Court Croghan (T64 – 85-81–166) joined Hinrichs as the two other freshmen in the varsity lineup. None of the three shot any higher than an 85 on either of the day’s rounds, showing the depth of a program that returned its top six from a year ago.
“With three freshmen playing in our top five and having so many guys back from last year, practices have been very competitive,” Muller said. “We don’t normally take 10 guys to many tournaments, but we wanted to get all of them tournament exposure and see how things go.”
In other words, the promising youngsters will have to continue to play well to remain in the varsity lineup. Muller sees a closely-grouped field from players 3 through 8.
Both sophomore Sam Simonson (85-79–164) and senior Sam DeFreece (89-80–169) put together solid performances at the Siouxland Invite as part of the junior varsity team. They both improved their scores significantly on day two of the event.
Muller hopes the Siouxland Invite provides a springboard for a strong start to conference qualifier play, which will begin on Sept. 19.
“Having three guys in the 70s and our fourth in the 80s is what we’re looking for,” Muller said. “That’s what we need every time out. Ideally, we’ll get four into the 70s.”
Round one was played in Orange City, Iowa, before shifting to Sioux Center, Iowa, for day two. Muller described the conditions as much tougher on Friday, when temperatures climbed above 90 degrees and winds gusted at 15-25 miles per hour.
The Bulldog men are off until Sept. 17 when they tee off at the Doane Invite in Lincoln, Neb.