DAKOTA DUNES, S.D. – Senior Nolan Zikas has left a lasting impact upon Concordia University golf and the institution as a whole. The cancer survivor and David Toms Overcoming Adversity Award winner gave it one last shot on Wednesday (April 24) in the fourth and final round of the 2018-19 GPAC Men’s Golf Championships. Zikas placed in a tie for 18th in the conference while leading the Bulldogs at Dakota Dunes Country Club in Dakota Dunes, S.D.
Head coach Brett Muller’s squad had hoped to make a move after it sat in sixth place after two fall GPAC championship rounds. Instead, Concordia ended up sliding back to ninth place with a final 72-hole total of 309-300-326-320–1,255.
There probably have been few goodbyes more emotional in Muller’s coaching career than the one experienced when Wednesday’s round concluded.
“Nolan was disappointed just with how his round went today,” Muller said. “But looking back on his career and everything he gave to Bulldog golf is amazing. I was talking to him after the round and we were thinking back to his campus visit four years ago and his goal to walk across the stage for graduation. He’s going to accomplish that goal. He was a staple of our lineup. The last two-and-a-half years he’s been our captain and the leader of our team and he’s solidified our No. 1 spot.”
A native of La Vista, Neb., Zikas finished the conference championships by carding a cumulative total of 76-74-74-80–304 (+20), which was about in line with his GPAC stroke numbers from the previous three seasons: 299, 323 and 302, respectively. In his distinguished career, Zikas has been all-conference honoree three times, placed in the top 10 of 17 tournaments and won three events.
Two other Bulldogs qualified for the individual GPAC leaderboard (must play in all four championship rounds): junior Tylar Samek (74-70-85-83–312; T-26th) and sophomore Jayden Neal (80-83-89-76–328; T-36th). The remaining Concordia competitors this week were freshman Jack Williams (81-83) and sophomore Harrison Helmer (86-81). All four have a chance to be part of what will hopefully be an improved squad next season.
“We had a lot of guys who got experience playing in the varsity lineup second semester,” Muller said. “At times they showed glimpses of their abilities. We have to focus on consistency. We have to have guys shoot 76 or better for us to be competitive in the conference. The conference gets tougher and deeper every year.”
That’s it for the 2018-19 men’s golf season. One of the top highlights occurred back in the middle of September when the team recorded a 293 in the second round of the Siouxland Invitational, an event in which Zikas took medalist honors.