Head Coach: Brett Muller (5th year)
2014-15 GPAC Finish: 6th (300-312-337-306–1,255)
Key Returners: Brock Colclasure (Sr.); Payton DeVencenty (So.); Tyelr Ehresman (So.); Jared Knoepfel (Jr.); Russell Otten (So.); Sam Simonson (Sr.); Garrett Suchanek (Sr.)
Key Newcomers: Nolan Zikas
Key Losses: Shawn Rodehorst
2015 GPAC All-Conference: Shawn Rodehorst (T-18th – 73-79-86-75–313); Reid Wiebe (T-16th – 75-82-82-73–312)
Head Coach: Brett Muller (5th year)
2014-15 GPAC Finish: 5th (343-367-353-361–1,424)
Key Returners: Amy Ahlers (Jr.); Brenna Gnuse (So.); Emma Jacoby (So.); Kayla Krueger (Jr.); Ashlen Pospisil (So.)
2015 GPAC All-Conference: Amy Ahlers (T-2nd – 78-84-83-85–330); Emma Jacoby (T-7th – 82-81-89-88–340); Kayla Krueger (T-14th – 83-91-88-94–356)
Both Concordia golf programs continued their ascent in the league standings in 2014-15. Now in his fifth season, head coach Brett Muller expects his squads to produce even better results throughout the 2015-16 campaign. The Bulldog men say goodbye to three-time all-conference performer Shawn Rodehorst (now the program’s graduate assistant coach), but most of the top players are back on both sides of the coin.
Despite Rodehorst’s graduation, Concordia has high expectations thanks in part to the return of junior Reid Wiebe and sophomore Russell Otten. With their emergence last season, the Bulldogs broke the program record for lowest single-season average (317.1) and equaled the school single-round record by shooting a 300 at back-to-back meets during the fall season.
Muller will have plenty of additional options to fill his five-player varsity men’s lineup at this season’s biggest tournaments. Says Wiebe, “We’re definitely on the rise. I think we have a lot of good guys and a lot of pieces to fill in this year. We’ll see where things go. The sky’s the limit for us. It depends on how hard we work.”
Wiebe, a transfer from NCAA Division I University of Nebraska Omaha, powers the ball off the tee better than anyone in the GPAC. He averaged a 77.7 over 15 rounds last season with a season low of 72. He placed inside the top 10 in three tournaments and provided Muller with another legitimate top-of-the-lineup stalwart.
Otten will give Wiebe a run for the No. 1 slot. Otten finished 11th in the GPAC as a freshman. He turned in scores of 77 or lower in three of the four conference qualifiers. Otten and Wiebe were the only two Bulldogs to navigate all 15 rounds last season.
“Both Reid and Russell are very solid players,” Muller said. “This year I look for those two guys to compete for the No. 1 spot. They’re very close on and off the course and very similar to the relationship that Amy (Ahlers) and Emma (Jacoby) had last year. I think it will really drive them in practice.”
Beyond Wiebe and Otten, another five returning Bulldogs competed in seven or more varsity rounds last season and will figure into the mix this fall and spring. Sophomore Tyler Ehresman (82.5) played in nine of 10 tournaments as a freshman and often competed at the No. 4 spot. The lineup may also include a combination of the likes of junior Court Croghan, sophomore Payton DeVencenty, junior Jared Knoepfel and seniors such as Matt Otten, Sam Simonson and Garrett Suchanek.
Among newcomers, Muller has been most impressed with La Vista, Neb., native Nolan Zikas, a third-place finisher at this past state tournament at the Nebraska Class A level.
The wealth of options gives Wiebe reason to be confident. Says the Sutton, Neb., native, “Our expectations are to win every tournament and it starts with the first one. If you don’t win the first one you can’t win them all.”
On the women’s side, few returning players in the GPAC can match the accomplishments of Concordia junior Amy Ahlers who has placed in the top five of the conference standings in each of her first two seasons and has five tournament victories to her credit. She’s the leader of a rock-solid top three Bulldog grouping that includes fellow junior Kayla Krueger and sophomore Emma Jacoby.
Krueger and Jacoby joined Ahlers on the 2015 GPAC all-conference team. Muller will count on his dynamic trio again in 2015-16. Says Muller, “Our top three will be very similar to (defending conference champion) Dakota Wesleyan’s top three. We just need to get some consistency from everybody.”
Ahlers, who has always placed high expectations upon herself, felt unsatisfied with her performance at last year’s final GPAC qualifier when she missed a chance at winning the individual conference title. Ahlers says she mostly needs to improve her mental game, which could lead to an even lower average than her school record-tying figure of 82.0 as a sophomore.
“Sometimes I get to tournaments and I’m not confident,” Ahlers said. “If you don’t have confidence in golf it shows. The last GPAC round I played with (Dakota Wesleyan’s) Lauren Fitts and she’s a great player. She’s won the conference two years. I was scared. I was like, ‘she’s the defending conference champion, you know.’ You can’t have that mindset going into it. Moving forward I want to strengthen up that mental game and know that I can hold my own ground. I can do it.”
A sharp mental game for Concordia’s star from Albion, Neb., will go a long way towards reaching the team goal of a top-two conference finish that would land a berth into the 2016 national tournament. The Bulldogs remained in the hunt for such a lofty finish last season before a disappointing GPAC No. 4. With its entire five-person lineup back, expectations are at their highest since Muller took over the women’s program.
Not only is Concordia climbing the GPAC standings (from 11th to sixth to fifth over the last three years), it is also one of the nation’s hardest working squads in the classroom. The 2014-15 Bulldogs ranked fifth nationally among all women’s golf programs in terms of team GPA.
“They mean everything,” Ahlers said of the team accomplishments. “That’s one thing about being a student-athlete, you’re a student, too. Classes are important and they always have been to me. To be surrounded by a group of girls that care about their grades as much as I do, it’s great. It’s so fun to be in that atmosphere and be around them. I’m so proud of them.”
Concordia’s success will also depend upon the improvement of sophomores Brenna Gnuse and Ashlen Pospisil, both regulars in last year’s lineup. Pospisil carded a season low 88 at the Briar Cliff Fall Classic and Gnuse turned in a low of 91 at the same tournament. More performances like that will help push the Bulldogs up another peg in the league race.
“I think on the women’s side we definitely grew as a team,” Muller said. “It was a great experience for us. We were right in the mix going into the final GPAC qualifier. Obviously it didn’t go as well as we would have liked it to go but I think we’re going to gain from that experience moving forward.”
Driven on and off the course, Muller’s squads appear poised to build upon record-breaking seasons a year ago. With four combined all-conference players (and another near miss) back in the fold, Concordia golf finds optimism easy to come by heading into 2015-16.
--WOMEN: Monday, Aug. 31 at Midland Invite (Fremont GC)
--MEN: Thursday/Friday, Sept. 3-4 at Mount Marty Invite (Fox Run GC/Hillcrest CC)
YANKTON, S.D. – The Concordia men’s golf team opened its season at the Mount Marty Invite Thursday, Sept. 3 in Yankton, S.D. Overall, the squad finished fifth with a team score of 308, a score of more than ten under the team average from the 2014-15 season.
Top finisher for the Bulldogs, Reid Wiebe shot a 75, three over par and tied for sixth place. Through eight holes, the Sutton native was three under par. Russell Otten, who eagled the 10th hole, finished four over with a 76 and tied for 14th place. Seeing his first collegiate action, freshman Nolan Zikas shoot five over and tied for 20th place. The team was rounded out by Matthew Otten (eight over) and Court Croghan (12 over).
Also representing the Bulldogs in Yankton were Tyler Ehresman (three over), Jared Knoepfel (eight over), Brock Colclasure (11 over), Sam Simonson (twelve over) and Garrett Suchanek (thirteen over).
The Bulldogs will continue play tomorrow, Friday, Sept. 4 in Yankton at Hillcrest Country Club.
Consider Concordia junior Reid Wiebe the Happy Gilmore of GPAC golfers. No, Wiebe does not stutter step his way into his tee shot, but his powerful drives are enough to make Shooter McGavin jealous. Wiebe attacks par fives with the tenacity of a Seward squirrel on an acorn.
Says head coach Brett Muller, “Reid definitely takes advantage of the par fives with how far he hits the ball off the tee. He can take some different angles off the tees that a lot of other golfers cannot take just with how far he hits the ball.”
The Bulldog version of the amazing golf-ball-a-whacker-guy hardly gave Concordia a look during or immediately after his standout prep career at Sutton Public High School. Wiebe’s impressive high school run, which included a Nebraska Class C-2 state individual title as a sophomore, led to a golf scholarship at NCAA Division I University of Nebraska-Omaha.
In his only season of competition at UNO (2012-13), Wiebe shot an average score of 79.8 over six rounds while hovering on the fringes of the five-man varsity lineup. Wiebe’s decision to subsequently leave the Mavericks was about more than his ability to crack the top five. He wanted a place that put him more at ease.
Says Wiebe, “I would say a lot of the pressure is off my shoulders being at Concordia compared to where I was.”
Now beginning his second season playing for Muller, Wiebe has found comfort and is a fixture near the top of the lineup. Last year as a sophomore, Wiebe rode his gargantuan drives to an all-conference season. His average round of 77.7 ranked second best on the team.
The 2014-15 campaign ended with Wiebe carding a 73 thanks to an eagle on his 18th hole. Wiebe called it “probably the best shot I’ve ever hit in my life.” That shot helped put aside some of the frustration that had built during a season that came with highs and lows for Wiebe.
But for the most part, there’s little the soft-spoken, mild-mannered Wiebe has to complain about.
“My experience has been pretty good so far,” Wiebe said. “We got off to a good start in the fall season. We had the lowest score in the school’s history with a 300 at one of our tournaments. Shooting that low of a score was pretty nice. Getting contributions from four guys was definitely a key for us. Whenever we can play a solid round of golf – 75, 76 – is really good for us. If we can keep that going throughout this season we should be pretty good.”
Wiebe’s arrival on campus in the fall of 2014 represented a huge coup for Muller. The fifth-year head coach knew all about Wiebe’s ability coming out of Sutton Public. It was clear that Wiebe would have the chance to perform at an NCAA Division I school if he chose to.
After making the decision to leave the UNO golf team, Wiebe transitioned to simply being a student. However, he was not ready to give up on collegiate athletics. He wanted to find somewhere to play baseball. He even filled out a recruiting form with interest in joining Concordia head baseball coach Ryan Dupic’s program.
Dupic discussed Wiebe with Muller. Knowing of Wiebe’s résumé on the golf course, Muller jumped at the chance to pitch the idea of playing golf at Concordia. The Bulldogs’ chances were boosted by the presence of Shawn Rodehorst, who had known Wiebe growing up. Rodehorst went to work on Wiebe, who eventually became sold.
“Last July he filled out some questionnaires,” Muller said of Wiebe. “Coach Dupic got his questionnaire and gave me the heads up on him. I knew he was probably a better golfer than baseball player. He and Shawn already knew each other so Shawn was a big part of getting Reid here at school. It actually wasn’t until about last August that Reid became a Bulldog.”
The exercise science major and three-time high school state tournament qualifier brings credibility – and then some – to a rising program. There’s plenty of talent and depth to move up from last season’s sixth-place team GPAC finish. With an improved short game, Wiebe expects to ascend from his 16th-place slotting on the 2014-15 conference leaderboard.
“We’re definitely on the rise,” Wiebe said. “I think we have a lot of good guys and a lot of pieces to fill in this year. We’ll see where things go. The sky’s the limit for us. It depends on how hard we work.”
Even the sky may have trouble limiting tee shots from Wiebe, who has already begun his assault on white, round rubber objects this 2015-16 season. How far will the Bulldogs go? Perhaps as far as a mammoth, whistling Wiebe drive down the fairway.
SEWARD, Neb. – Reid Wiebe finished fourth overall after two days of play at the Mount Marty Invite Friday, Sept. 4. The junior carded a total score of 149, 75 on day one and 74 on the final day. The Concordia Bulldog team shot 622 over the two day invite, good for seventh place.
Head coach Brett Muller said, “I was a little disappointed with our consistency, we did a poor job yesterday finishing the round. We looked good after 10 to 12 holes. Today we didn’t get a good start, some guys had a tough first nine and couldn’t recover.”
Wiebe’s day two performance was just two strokes short of tying his career low but was good to beat the 77.7 season average of his sophomore year. The team score of 314 on the second 18 holes is below the 2014-15 season average of 317.1.
“Reid spent a lot of time on his short game and putting during the summer,” Muller noted on Wiebe. “He’s shown great improvement from where he finished last year and has been very driven to win the conference.”
Contributing to the team score was Nolan Zikas (154), Russell Otten (158), Matthew Otten (163) and Court Croghan (165).
Muller also stated, “Today was a completely different course (from yesterday), it was more of a short course so we couldn’t grip it and rip it which wasn’t to our advantage. We gave a conservative game plan. We need to play to our strengths, it was a learning experience for me as well.”
Also on the course for the Bulldogs was Jared Knoepfel (156), Tyler Ehresman (160), Brock Colclasure (162), Garrett Suchanek (169) and Sam Simonson (169).
The Bulldog golf team will hit the course again Sept. 10-11 for the Siouxland Invite in Orange City, Iowa and Sioux Center, Iowa.
1 Mount Marty College 605 +29
2 Morningside College 606 +30
3 Northeast CC (NE) 607 +31
4 Dakota Wesleyan 610 +34
5 Dakota Wesleyan (B) 618 +42
6 Dordt College 620 +44
7 Concordia Univ. (NE) 622 +46
8 Morningside College (B) 627 +51
9 Concordia Univ. (NE) (B) 646 +70
10 Dordt College (B) 648 +72
11 Briar Cliff University 674 +98
Top 20 finishes
1 Robbie Neswick - Mount Marty College 142 -2
2 Ferran Cortilla - Morningside College 146 +2
3 Michael Whitney - Dakota Wesleyan(B) 148 +4
4 Reid Wiebe - Concordia Univ. (NE) 149 +5
5 Dylan Brende - Mount Marty College 150 +6
T6 Joe Brinkman - Mount Marty College 151 +7
T6 Stephen Grand Pre - Northeast CC (NE) 151 +7
T6 Tom Hogg - Dakota Wesleyan 151 +7
T6 Anthony Husher - Dakota Wesleyan 151 +7
T6 Zach Ward - Morningside College 151 +7
T11 Elliott Banks - Dakota Wesleyan(B) 152 +8
T11 Michael Brockhaus - Northeast CC (NE) 152 +8
T11 Preston Peters - Northeast CC (NE) 152 +8
T11 Russell Pick - Dakota Wesleyan 152 +8
T11 Jay Timmer - Dordt College 152 +8
T16 J. Burns - Morningside College(B) 153 +9
T16 Dalton Lammers - Northeast CC (NE) 153 +9
T18 Cody Holck - Morningside College 154 +10
T18 Cody Steuter - Northeast CC (NE) 154 +1
ORANGE CITY, Iowa – For the second-straight day, a Bulldog golf squad broke a program record for the lowest single round in school history. On Thursday it was the Concordia men’s turn. Buoyed by junior Reid Wiebe’s career low 69, the Bulldogs shot a 298 and sit in ninth place out of 18 after day one of two at the Siouxland Invite in western Iowa. Thursday’s action took place at Landsmeer Golf Course in Orange City.
Wiebe and company broke the record tied by last year’s squad, which twice shot a 300 (GPAC Qualifier No. 1 and the Midland Fall Invite). The 298 was an early-season best by 10 strokes.
“Across the board there were some spectacular scores,” Muller said. “We played pretty well to shoot a 298. Reid was solid from tee to green. He made five birdies. Tyler’s (Ehresman) score was also a personal best.”
Wiebe knocked three strokes off of his previous best single round as a Bulldog. His two-under-par performance has him in a tie for fourth, two strokes off the lead on the individual leaderboard of 98 competitors.
The remaining three players in Concordia’s top four of its ‘A’ team each turned in scores in the 70s: sophomore Tyler Ehresman (74, T-27th), freshman Nolan Zikas (76, T-49th) and junior Jared Knoepfel (79, T-69th). Sophomore Russell Otten shot an 80.
“Our first day in Yankton (last week) we were in good position after 12 holes. We just didn’t finish,” Muller said. “Today was the opposite. We made a lot of birdies late to get the team score down. A lot of our guys had two par fives in their last four holes and really took advantage.”
Muller brought a total of nine players to the tournament. Among players on the Concordia ‘B’ team, junior Court Croghan carded the second best score of any Bulldog with a personal best two-over-par 73 that puts him in a tie for 18th place. Croghan led the way for the B grouping, which included seniors Garrett Suchanek (77, T-59th), Brock Colclasure (78, T-65th) and Sam Simonson (79, T-69th).
The Siouxland Invite picks up on Friday at 10 a.m. from The Ridge Golf Club in Sioux Center, Iowa. Concordia’s A team stands 10 shots off of second place and 24 off of first-place Northwestern. Wiebe is just two strokes behind a pair of Northwestern golfers tied atop the leaderboard.
SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia men’s golf team wrapped up day two of the Siouxland Invite in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, Sept. 11. With the help of a career low score in the first day of the event, Reid Wiebe tied for fourth with an overall score of 69-74-143. The team combined for a score of 310 on the windy, last day of the invite, bringing its final score to 298-310—608, good for ninth place out of 18 teams.
Head coach Brett Muller noted, “Reid played really solid. He had two double bogeys today otherwise he would have been right around par. He has definitely filled into that No. 1 spot that we had with Shawn (Rodehorst) the last three years.”
Jared Knoepfel finished with two pars and a chip-in birdie on the 17th hole to finish 79-77—156 (T58th) while Nolan Zikas finished with a 76-81—157 (T62nd). Russell Otten ended day two by carding a 78 with a final score of 80-78—158 (T64th).Ty Ehresman ended day two with an 81, with a 74-81—155 two day total (T51).
The 'A' team combined to shoot 14 over par on holes 10 and 11, which was the difference in shooting 10 strokes worse than yesterday, Muller noted.
For the Concordia ‘B’ team, Court Croghan summed a 73-81—154 (T-42nd), Garrett Suchanek finished 77-77-154 (T42nd) while Brock Colclasure carded a 78-77—162 (T51st). Wrapping up the team was Sam Simonson with a score of 79-87—166 (T83rd).
On the upcoming GPAC qualifier Muller said, “The GPAC is very tightly bunched this year and we know we can play better at that course next week, but I’m sure every other team thinks so as well. It’s just up to us to go out there and play well.”
The Bulldogs will return to Sioux Center on Sept. 18 for the GPAC Qualifier No.1 at the Ridge Golf Club.
SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – Sophomore Tyler Ehresman’s career low round on Friday highlighted the opening conference qualifier of the 2015-16 season for Concordia University men’s golf. As a team, the Bulldogs concluded GPAC Qualifier No. 1 with a score of 312, tying for eighth among the conference’s 11 squads. The total is a shade under last year’s team average of 313.75 during conference action.
Ehresman sits in a tie for ninth with his two-over-par 73 that unfolded at The Ridge Golf Club in Sioux Center, Iowa. Sophomore Russell Otten (76, T-22nd) and freshman Nolan Zikas (79, T-37th) joined Ehresman with scores in the 70s for head coach Brett Muller’s Bulldogs.
“We’re a little disappointed with the team score,” Muller said. “We could have done a lot better. We got off to a rough start. We did a decent job coming back, but we were just too far back.”
Ehresman was remarkably steady in collecting 16 pars and two bogeys. On the other hand, 2014-15 all-conference performer Reid Wiebe shot a season high 84, a score that was inflated by a 10 on an early hole.
“We need more guys at 75 or less,” Muller said. “We know we’re capable of that. We’re going to go back and get to work in practice and try to simulate that tournament feel.”
A native of Omaha, Ehresman’s previous career low was a 74 on day one of the Siouxland Invitational on Sept. 10. He dropped his season average to 77.6 with Friday’s round.
A season ago Concordia turned in conference scores of 300, 312, 337 and 306 and placed sixth in the GPAC. Both Shawn Rodehorst, now the team’s graduate assistant coach, and Wiebe garnered all-conference recognition.
The Bulldogs will go nine days without a tournament until returning to action at the Doane Invite held at Wilderness Ridge Golf Course in Lincoln on Sept. 28. Concordia will be back at the same course on Oct. 1 for GPAC Qualifier No. 2.
LINCOLN, Neb. – Junior Reid Wiebe returned to form and the Concordia University men’s golf team shot a solid 305 to place third among the 15 teams at Monday’s Doane College Invitational hosted at Wilderness Ridge Golf Club in Lincoln. The event ended a stretch of nine-straight days without a tournament for Wiebe and company while serving as a tune up before Thursday’s crucial conference round.
The bulk of Concordia’s ‘A’ lineup struggled over the final three holes, but it was an overall solid day at a challenging course.
“The last three holes were not what we hoped,” head coach Brett Muller said. “We were in position to have a score in the 295-299 range, but we just didn’t finish the round. For the most part I’m pretty happy with finishing third. Today doesn’t mean as much as Thursday’s round, but it should give us confidence.”
In his last time out, Wiebe carded an 84 after having trouble rebounding from a rough hole early in his round. This time the native of Sutton, Neb., got back in line with his season average of 75.2 entering the day. He placed fifth at the Doane Invite in recording his third top-five finish of the season and fourth of his Bulldog career.
Meanwhile, freshman Nolan Zikas chopped one stroke off his career best by shooting a 75. That score was good enough to give him a 10th-place finish, marking the first top 10 effort of his young collegiate career. He was followed closely by sophomore Russell Otten, whose 76 equaled a season best. Otten placed in a tie for 13th.
The other two spots in the A lineup were held down by sophomore Tyler Ehresman (80) and junior Jared Knoepfel (83). A trio of Bulldogs each turned in 84s as part of the ‘B’ lineup: junior Court Croghan and seniors Matt Otten and Garrett Suchanek. Seniors Sam Simonson (87) and Brock Colclasure (90) rounded out the group of 10 Bulldogs at the Doane Invite.
The team score of 305 ranks as the second best total of the season for Concordia. Muller’s squad has a season average of 307.8 with its program record 298 at the Siouxland Invite representing the best round of the fall.
The Bulldogs will return to Wilderness Ridge on Thursday for GPAC Qualifier No. 2, marking the final conference event of the fall season. At the opening conference qualifier held at The Ridge in Sioux Center, Iowa, Concordia turned in a team score of 312, placing it in a tie for eighth.
LINCOLN, Neb. – The Concordia men’s golf team competed in the GPAC Qualifier No. 2 on Thursday, Oct. 1. The team shot a 316 with four Bulldogs placing in the top 25, Russell Otten leading with a score of 77.
Said head coach Brett Muller, “It was pretty much the same setup as Monday, but we just have to be better. We have high expectations and potential but we now have to learn how to turn that into results.”
The team shot a 316 on the day for ninth place in the second round of the GPAC Qualifiers. After a score of 312 in the first round, the ‘Dogs now have a two round score of 628.
Two Bulldogs finished with scores in the 70’s. Otten led with a 77 and tied for 13th place. Nolan Zikas tied for 21st and shot a 79. The remaining three golfers finished in the 80’s. Tyler Ehresman and Jared Knoepfel each carded an 80 while Reid Wiebe recorded an 82.
The Concordia men’s golf team will hit the course again on Oct. 9-10 in Norfolk, Neb. at the Nebraska Intercollegiate meet.
NORFOLK, Neb. – The Concordia men’s golf team placed sixth out of fourteen teams at the 2015 Nebraska Intercollegiate with a score of 312-314—626 on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 9-10. Reid Wiebe tied for second over the two day event, carding a 71-75—146.
Said head coach Brett Muller, “Reid and Russell played much closer to where they should be consistently. Reid didn’t have his best but just found a way to put up a good number, which is something we all need to continue to get better at.”
Along with Wiebe, Russell Otten also shot in the 70’s both days, collecting a score of 74-77—151. Otten’s mark tied him for 11th place. Nolan Zikas recorded an 80-84—164. Close behind Zikas was Jared Knoepfel with an 84-81—165. Rounding out the Concordia squad was Tyler Ehresman with a score of 87-84—171.
Also competing for the Bulldogs was Court Croghan who marked up an 80-83—163 and Garrett Suchanek with a final score of 81-85—166.
The team finished sixth with a two day score of 312-314—626. The Bulldogs were outshot by GPAC competition, Midland University who finished first (299-287—586) and fourth place Hastings College (304-310—614). Concordia finished ahead of Nebraska Wesleyan. The Prairie Wolves finished in seventh place (313-317—630).
“As a team, we have to be more consistent,” noted Muller. “There are way too many big numbers but we have a long offseason to get better.”
The Nebraska Intercollegiate marked the end of the fall golf season for the Concordia Bulldogs who will resume their season in the spring.
FORT MYERS, Fla. – After arriving in sunny Florida on Sunday, the Concordia University men’s golf team took the Fiddlesticks Country Club in Fort Myers on Monday. In three matches involving two-man teams, the Bulldogs defeated Doane, which also made the trip to the southeast, by a count of 2-1 in the first outing of the spring season.
Freshman Nolan Zikas produced the best results on Monday. Zikas and partner Russell Otten won 4 and 3 over their Doane counterparts. Meanwhile, senior Garrett Suchanek made a crucial par on 17 to even up the match he and sophomore Tyler Ehresman were engaged in. Suchanek then birdied 18 to give the Bulldogs the win in a match-play contest that was decided by the final putt of the day. Suchanek and Ehresman won 1-up. On the other hand, juniors Reid Wiebe and Jared Knoepfel led after the front nine but ended up relinquishing their advantage and fell, 1-down.
“It was a great performance for us,” said head coach Brett Muller. “Especially with having such a long break since our last competition. We haven’t been outside a whole lot so it’s nice to get out and play. It was a very good first performance for us.”
Upon finding its way to Florida, Muller’s squad went to a driving range on Sunday for chipping and short game work. While Monday was the only competition day, Concordia will get practice rounds in on Tuesday and Wednesday in Florida. Then on Thursday, the team will attend the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor prior to flying back home on Friday.
The spring break trip is a new thing for the golf program. The women’s team will get a similar opportunity next March. Said Muller, “The guys were pretty excited to be able to do this. A lot of guys said that Fiddlesticks is the nicest course they’ve ever played.”
The Concordia men’s golf team will wait until April 2-3 when the Bethel College Invite takes place to resume the spring season. Five meets and seven total rounds are scheduled to take place in April and May.
The spring golf season heats up this weekend for fifth-year head coach Brett Muller’s men’s program. The goal this April and May is to lower its scores at the final two GPAC qualifiers. In non GPAC-events, the Bulldogs shot an average round of 308.7 this past fall. That figure went up to an average of 314.0 at the first two conference outings.
Concordia has spent the winter and early spring determined to prove its better than its current ninth-place (312-316–628) in the GPAC.
“If you take out our two GPAC qualifiers I thought we had a pretty solid fall season,” Muller said. “Unfortunately it’s all about the GPACs and those were two of our higher team scores. That was disappointing because I feel we’re a much better team than No. 9 in the conference. That’s where we’re at right now. The guys have been working hard this spring putting in some extra time before and after practice. I really look for us to move up in the standings.”
The biggest highlight of the fall 2015 season, from a team perspective, came on Sept. 10 when the Bulldogs broke a program record for lowest single-round score with a 298 at the Siouxland Invite. They also shot a 305 at the Doane Invite and a 308 at the Mount Marty Invite.
Now the trick is finding greater consistency. Junior Reid Wiebe turned in seven rounds of 75 or lower in the fall, but his other two outings – 82 and 84 – happened to come during GPAC competition. Known for his powerful drives, Wiebe still managed to top the team with an average score of 75.3. He’ll have a big say in how far Concordia climbs up the conference leaderboard.
“Reid is very self-motivated,” Muller said. “He knows he did not perform in the two GPACs. He’s proven that he’s a very capable player and was one of the top players in the conference at other tournaments. He just needs to bring that to the GPAC qualifiers. I’m really not too worried about where he’s at. He’s put in a lot of time last fall and this spring to get his game back. I look for him to have a great spring campaign.”
There are plenty of options after Wiebe. The team’s top-ranked GPAC individuals are sophomores Tyler Ehresman (73-80–153) and Russell Otten (76-77–153). They are tied for 19th in the conference. Ehresman, Otten, Wiebe and freshman Nolan Zikas were the four Bulldogs to participate in all nine rounds during the fall. A total of 10 individuals competed for Muller’s squad in the fall.
Positive signs surfaced this spring when Concordia knocked off Doane in match play, 2-1, during its spring break trip to Fort Myers, Fla. The Tigers currently sit second in the GPAC standings. The pairs of Otten and Zikas and Ehresman and senior Garrett Suchanek claimed wins to sink Doane.
The program has also received a boost from upgrades to the indoor hitting center, located on the southeast part of campus. The Bulldogs now have the use of an 18-by-8 foot putting green as well as a launch monitor. Said Muller, “That made our winter practices much more meaningful rather than just hitting the ball into the net. We can actually see what the ball’s doing and see how far it’s going. We can see the flight of the ball, whether it’s going right, left or straight.”
The first tournament gets underway on Saturday when the Bulldogs hit the course in Hesston, Kan., for the Bethel Invite. The two-day meet will continue on Sunday in Newton, Kan. View the complete schedule HERE.
NEWTON, Kan. – The Concordia University men’s golf team cut two strokes off its total as compared to day one in Sunday’s round of the Bethel College Spring Invitational. After carding a 318 at Hesston Golf Course in Hesston, Kan., on Saturday, the Bulldogs turned in a 316 at Sand Creek Station in Newton, Kan., on Sunday. The two-round total of 634 placed Concordia 13th among the 22 teams in the field.
Fifth-year head coach Brett Muller took two teams of five guys each to the weekend event. Among them, junior Reid Wiebe placed the highest. He finished in a tie for 33rd out of 119 golfers by shooting 10 over par (77-76–153). Wiebe’s 76 on Sunday helped the Bulldogs move up four spots in the standings.
“We played better today on a tougher course in tougher conditions,” Muller said. “It was nice to see that after not playing as well as we’d like to yesterday. We definitely have some stuff to work on this weekend in practice. We’ll play a practice round at Firethorn (Country Club in Lincoln) on Sunday and hopefully be ready Monday (April 11).”
Freshman Nolan Zikas came in next in line after Wiebe with a two-round score of 80-78–158, good for a top-50 finish. Rounding out the top five performers for the Bulldogs were senior Sam Simonson 78-81–159, sophomore Russell Otten (79-81–160) and junior Jared Knoepfel (82-81–163). Simonson was the highest finisher for Concordia’s ‘B’ team, which placed 21st (328-341–669).
Currently in ninth place in the conference (312-316–628), the Bulldogs will attempt to make a move up the standings when they compete at GPAC Qualifier No. 3 at Firethorn on Monday, April 11. The event gets started at 12 p.m. The team’s top-ranked GPAC individuals are sophomores Tyler Ehresman (73-80–153) and Otten (76-77–153). They are tied for 19th in the conference.
LINCOLN, Neb. – Freshman Nolan Zikas claimed his first career tournament win and Reid Wiebe chipped in his best conference performance of his junior season in helping the Concordia University men’s golf team move up a spot in the overall GPAC standings. At Monday’s GPAC Qualifier No. 3 at Firethorn Golf Club in Lincoln, the Bulldogs carded a team score of 319 while up against a difficult course and the windy conditions typical of a Nebraska April.
Zikas’ three-over-par 74 bested his previous career best by a stroke. He entered the day 35th on the overall conference individual leaderboard. As a team, head coach Brett Muller’s squad now sits eighth with a three-round total of 312-316-319–947. Monday’s fourth-place finish allowed Concordia to leapfrog Dordt.
“Given the setup of the course and conditions today, it’s hard to be too upset with a 319,” Muller said. “It was nice to move up a spot in the overall race and we put ourselves in position to move up at GPAC No. 4.”
After an inauspicious start, Zikas rallied impressively while turning in his second top-10 finish through eight events in 2015-16. The La Vista, Neb., native was a third-place Nebraska high school Class A state finisher as a prep senior a year ago.
He did a great job of bouncing back after started with a double bogey on hole 10,” Muller said. “He really didn’t get rattled. He focused in and put together a nice round. He ended with four birdies for the day.”
Though he failed to finish Sunday’s practice round due to feeling under the weather, Wiebe improved dramatically from his previous two GPAC qualifier rounds of 84 and 82 by carding a 75 on Monday. He came into the day 45th on the overall leaderboard.
The rest of Monday’s lineup included sophomore Russell Otten (84, +13), junior Jared Knoepfel (86, +15) and sophomore Tyler Ehresman (87, +16).
The Bulldogs resume the spring season next Monday with day one of the two-round Briar Cliff University Invite (April 18-19). Monday's round will be held at Dakota Dunes Country Club in Dakota Dunes, S.D. Tuesday's play will be held at Two Rivers Golf Club in Dakota Dunes. The action will get started at 10:30 a.m. both days. Two Rivers will also serve as the location for GPAC Qualifier No. 4 on May 9.
DAKOTA DUNES, S.D. – The Concordia men’s golf team competed in the day one of the Briar Cliff University Mini-Tour Stop on Monday. The team shot a 325 to tie for fourth place. The second round of the meet will begin at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow.
Head coach Brett Muller said, “The conditions today were difficult for a majority of our rounds. Dakota Dunes Country Club is a great course that has many demanding shots. Our guys came in focused and ready to battle the elements. I felt like through about the first nine to 12 holes we were in positions to shoot a solid team score. We let too many shots go late in the round. We need to bounce back tomorrow as we play a preview for GPAC No. 4 at Two Rivers.”
Individually, freshman Nolan Zikas carded a team-best 78 to tie for 11th. Zikas started out the front nine with a 37 and finished the back shooting a 41. Russell Otten and Tyler Ehresman both turned in a score of 82 with teammate Jared Knoepfel right behind, scoring 83. Reid Wiebe rounded out the squad with an 89.
Sam Simonson, Brock Colclasure and Garrett Suchanek also competed at the meet. Simonson carded an 85 while the latter two each shot an 87 on the day. The three scores do not count toward the overall team score.
Concordia is tied with Morningside College for fourth place out of 12 total teams. Northwestern College is currently leading the pack after shooting a 296 as a team. Midland University and Doane College are tied for second with scores of 310.
The Bulldogs will compete tomorrow in the second day of the Briar Cliff Mini-Tour Stop. The course, Two Rivers Golf Course, will be where the final GPAC Qualifier will take place later in the season.
SEWARD, Neb. – The Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) announced the Hauff Mid-America Sports/GPAC Golfers of the Week Tuesday. Concordia’s Nolan Zikas was named the men’s Co-Golfer of the Week along with two other conference golfers.
Zikas was given the honor after tying for first at the GPAC Qualifier No. 3 on April 11. The La Vista native carded a career-best 74 at the Firethorn Golf Club in Lincoln. After 54 holes in the GPAC Qualifiers, Zikas sits 13th individually with a score of 79-79-74—232. This is the first weekly GPAC honor for Zikas and the first for the men’s team this season.
Also tying for the weekly accolades were golfers from Midland and Morningside who tied Zikas’ 74 score at the third conference qualifier.
Zikas and the rest of the Bulldogs are competing today at the Briar Cliff Mini-Tour Stop. The course is Two Rivers in North Sioux City, S.D. which is the same course that the final GPAC Qualifier will be played on later in the season.
NORTH SIOUX CITY, S.D. – Co-GPAC golfer of the week Nolan Zikas stayed sizzling hot to lead a Concordia University men’s golf team that shattered the program record for lowest single-round score while playing at Tuesday’s round of the Briar Cliff University Mini-Tour Stop at Two Rivers Golf Club in North Sioux City, S.D. The team score of 291 bested the previous school standard of 298 at the Siouxland Invitational on Sept. 10, 2015.
With a two-day total of 325-291–616 at the BCU Mini-Tour Stop, fifth-year head coach Brett Muller’s squad placed fourth among the 12 teams in the field. The Bulldogs defeated GPAC rivals Dakota Wesleyan (fifth), Morningside (sixth), Dordt (eighth), Mount Marty (ninth) and Briar Cliff (11th). Concordia shot a lower round on Tuesday than every team except for one.
“To shoot a 291 you have to have four guys play very well,” Muller said. “We did today. It was great to see Nolan play well. He shot a 69 and actually had a put for 68 on the 18th hole.
“We knew we had it in us. Today was a much nicer day, but we still had to go out and put together a solid round. Nolan, Tyler (Ehresman) and Russell (Otten) played great golf all day long today.”
Honored by the conference on Tuesday for his then career-low 74 and first career tournament victory at GPAC Qualifier No. 3 on April 15, Zikas decided to go lower. He shot a one-under-par 69, placing him second on the day and in a tie for third on the overall individual leaderboard. He carded a two-round total of 78-69–147.
This spring Zikas is averaging an impressive 75.8 through five rounds. Zikas stayed incredibly consistent throughout the BCU Mini-Tour, collecting 22 pars and five birdies at the event.
“He’s doing a great job of staying away from the big number,” Muller said. “He put himself in position to put a low score on the board.”
Concordia’s 34-stroke improvement as compared to Monday was aided by the 72s turned in by sophomores Tyler Ehresman and Russell Otten. Those two also had identical 82s on Monday and finished tied for 14th on the leaderboard. Rounding out the team’s top five were juniors Jared Knoepfel (83-83–166) and Reid Wiebe (89-78–167). The 72 marked a season low for Otten.
In addition, three Bulldogs golfed as individuals at the event: seniors Sam Simonson (85-80 – 165), Brock Colclasure (87-82–169) and Garrett Suchanek (87-86–173).
Just two events remain on the 2015-16 schedule. Up next is the Midland Spring Invite at Tatanka Golf Club in Niobrara, Neb., on April 30. The season will culminate with GPAC Qualifier No. 4 at Two Rivers on May 9.
NORTH SIOUX CITY, S.D. – A red-hot spring for freshman Nolan Zikas concluded on Monday as he turned in an even-par 70 at GPAC Qualifier No. 4 held at Two Rivers Golf Club in North Sioux City, S.D. Zikas’ performance helped pave the way for a team score of 296, placing the Concordia University men’s golf team fourth on the day.
Head coach Brett Muller’s squad finished the season in seventh place on the overall GPAC leaderboard with a four-round conference total of 312-316-319-296–1,243. Monday’s score represented an improvement of 23 strokes from the Bulldogs’ previous GPAC qualifier round. It also marked a program all-time best for a conference meet.
“To shoot that low of a score we need multiple guys to play well and that’s what we had today,” Muller said. “Nolan picked up right where he left off at GPAC No. 3 and the Briar Cliff Invite. As a team we came in with a lot of confidence knowing we had set the school record on that same course (291 on April 19).”
Zikas sizzled with a 74.8 average over six spring rounds. After tying for first with a three-over par 74 at GPAC No. 3 on April 11, the native of La Vista, Neb., again equaled a tournament low in his latest outing. Over the final three events of the spring, Zikas turned in place finishes of first, third and first, respectively.
On the overall GPAC individual leaderboard, Zikas placed eighth while carding a four-round 79-79-74-70–302. That finish locked up all-conference honors for the former Nebraska Class A third-place state tournament performer.
“Nolan’s ball striking has been fantastic the last three events,” Muller said. “He made some putts and made some birdies today. Looking back at where he was in the GPAC standings after the fall, he played very well to move up to a tie for eighth.”
Zikas was one of four Bulldogs to shoot a score below 80 on the day. The others were junior Reid Wiebe (73), sophomore Russell Otten (75) and senior Sam Simonson (78). In addition, sophomore Tyler Ehresman carded an 81. Otten, who entered the day tied for 24th on the overall leaderboard, finished with a four-round total of 76-77-84-75–312 (21st). The other Bulldogs to qualify for placement in the individual standings were Wiebe (84-82-75-73–314; T-23rd) and Ehresman (73-80-87-81–321; T-30th).
The season finale leads the Bulldogs into next fall on a positive note. Said Muller, “The last three events showed we’re capable of being a title contender in the GPAC. We need to bring that same mentality and mindset to every event. We’re pretty excited to see how we finished the year.”
Zikas on finish to season:
I am very satisfied with how I played this spring and to close it out with another tie for first in the last GPAC made it that much more special of a season. And this time I got to do it in front of my mom, dad, aunt and grandma which also made it much more special. It feels really good to finish eighth in the GPAC. I know I belong and can compete at this level and be an asset to the Concordia golf team. Now I am going to have to set new goals for next year and go achieve those.
Today's round I started off really hot. I was three-under through two holes and then my putting started letting me down during the round, but I stayed focused on one hole and one swing at a time. I really focused on putting a good swing and good stroke on each shot. I finished even on my first nine after being three-under after two holes. I knew I still had nine holes and many opportunities. Golf is a great game! It can be frustrating at times but yet can be rewarding. God gave me a talent and I am pursuing not only my dream but also what He had planned for me to do. I think I am able to stay so positive because He loves watching me succeed so He helps me do well when I have a good attitude. I play 18 holes of golf and each hole is a new hole. What happened the previous holes is past and I move on to the next while trying to achieve perfection.
SEWARD, Neb. – The GPAC office announced the men’s All-GPAC golf team on Wednesday. Making the list was freshman Nolan Zikas. Zikas was among just three freshman to make the All-GPAC team. Junior Reid Wiebe received honorable mention accolades.
Zikas, a native of La Vista, Neb., was named to the all-conference team after placing ninth in the GPAC. The freshman shot a four round total of 79-79-74-70—302, placing first at the third and fourth qualifiers. At the Briar Cliff University Mini-Tour Stop, Zikas shot a career low round of 69. He placed third at that meet. Zikas improved significantly throughout the season, finishing the year with three top-three finishes. With an average score of 77.13, Zikas had the second-best average on the team.
Wiebe tied for 23rd after the four GPAC meets with a score of 84-82-75-73—314. The Sutton, Neb., native averaged a team-best 76.40 score over 15 rounds. Wiebe placed in the top-five five different times over the season. His season-low score came in the first round of the Siouxland Invitational after turning in a 69. This is the junior’s first all-conference honor.
The men’s golf team placed seventh in the GPAC this season after shooting a team score of 312-316-319-296—1,243. The squad’s shot a season-low 291 at the Briar Cliff University Mini Tour Stop on April 18-19. Three Bulldogs placed inside the top-15 at that meet.