2017-18 Men's Golf
*Placed 5th in the GPAC (288-295-311-308--1,202) | Season Stats
Otten, Concordia in fifth place after 36 holes at Midland Invite
April 3, 2017
FREMONT, Neb. – The Concordia University men’s golf team got the spring season started for real on Monday, which marked day one of the Midland Spring Invitational. As part of a marathon outing at Fremont Golf Club, the Bulldogs shot a two-round total of 309-301–610 while playing 36 holes. The tournament will continue on Tuesday with another 18 holes.
Head coach Brett Muller’s squad was right in line with its 303.0 team average from nine rounds back in the fall. Concordia sits in fifth place amongst nine teams. Individually, Russell Otten has paced Concordia at the Midland Invite with his 36-hole score of 77-70–147 (+5). He sits in sixth place out of 45 golfers.
Muller traveled a total of eight competitors to Fremont. Following Otten were the likes of Nolan Zikas (76-77–153), Jared Knoepfel (76-79–155), Tyler Knoepfel (80-78–158), Tylar Samek (80-80–160), Tyler Ehresman (85-75–160), Noah Rohlfing (82-86–168) and Grant Suchanek (83-89–172). Among the Bulldogs to take the course in Fremont, Zikas owned the top season average entering the spring (75.89).
Tuesday’s action is slated to get going at 10:30 a.m. CT with a shotgun start from Oakland Golf Club in Oakland, Neb. The Midland Spring Invite is a 54-hole event.
Bulldogs card 296 on day one at Briar Cliff Invite
April 12, 2017
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – For the fourth time this season, the Concordia University men’s golf team turned in a round of lower than 300. With a 296 at Wednesday’s opening round of the Briar Cliff University Invitational, the Bulldogs will enter day two with a third-place standing out of the 12 teams in the field at Green Valley Golf Course in Sioux City, Iowa.
Head coach Brett Muller’s squad came into the week with a team season average of 304.0. Concordia is seeking its third top-three tournament finish of 2016-17.
Individually, junior Russell Otten and sophomore Nolan Zikas are chasing second top 10 placements in a row. They are tied for sixth on the leaderboard with identical even-par 72 totals. Otten turned in five birdies (tied for the most in the field). The rest of the five-member team included freshman Tylar Samek (76, T-23rd), senior Jared Knoepfel (76, T-23rd) and freshman Tyler Knoepfel (80, T-47th).
Muller also traveled three individuals to the event: junior Tyler Ehresman (78, T-31st) and freshmen Noah Rohlfing (79, T-38th) and Grant Suchanek (83, T-53rd). There were 72 total golfers that took the course on Wednesday.
Prior to Wednesday, Concordia golfers had combined for seven rounds of even par or better during this academic year. Zikas has four such rounds and Otten has three. Both Zikas (75.7) and Otten (76.6) came in well below their season averages on day one of the Briar Cliff Invite.
Action at Green Valley is set to resume at 9 a.m. CT on Thursday. The Bulldogs are eight strokes behind second place Morningside (288) and 10 strokes in back of first place Northwestern (286).
Bulldogs settle for fourth in Sioux City
April 13, 2017
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – While returning to Green Valley Golf Club in Sioux City, Iowa, for the second day in a row, the Concordia University men’s golf team fell back one spot in a battle against a field made up almost exclusively of GPAC rivals. The Bulldogs settled for fourth place out of 12 teams, carding a two-day score of 296-314–610 in an event that took place on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Head coach Brett Muller’s squad has placed fourth or better at five of seven events during the 2016-17 campaign.
“Conditions were a little bit tougher today. The wind blew a little harder than it did yesterday,” Muller said. “The course played a lot longer. We had some good rounds going. We just didn’t do a very good job of finishing. Both Nolan (Zikas) and Russell (Otten) gave away multiple shots late in their rounds, otherwise they would have finished a lot better.”
Otten and Zikas were tied with each other for sixth place after Wednesday’s round. Zikas managed to remain inside the top 10 with his two-round total of 72-76–148, good for a share of ninth place. Meanwhile, Otten fell just outside the top 10, scoring out at 72-77–149 (tied for 14th). Zikas’ four top 10 finishes this season are a team best.
The rest of Concordia’s five-member team included freshman Tylar Samek (76-79–155, T-25th), senior Jared Knoepfel (76-84–160, T-36th) and freshman Tyler Knoepfel (80-82–162, T-40th). Three Bulldogs competed individually: junior Tyler Ehresman (78-78–156, T-29th) and freshmen Grant Suchanek (83-87–170, T-56th) and Noah Rohlfing (79-96–175, 62nd).
Concordia managed to beat out the ‘A’ teams from Mount Marty (seventh), Briar Cliff (ninth) and Dordt (10th). The Bulldogs hope to step up their game in time for the GPAC spring championships (April 24-25).
“We were in third going into the day and Dakota Wesleyan passed us,” Muller said. “We’ll be playing with Northwestern and Morningside at conference. Those are the two schools ahead of us (in the GPAC standings). We need to do a better job of competing and playing complete rounds.”
Concordia will take on Northwestern in a match play event April 17-18. The two-day meet will take place at Landsmeer Golf Club in Orange City, Iowa.
Bulldogs slip back to seventh in GPAC standings
April 24, 2017
EAGLE, Neb. – It was a difficult 36 holes of GPAC action for the Concordia University men’s golf team on Monday. The Bulldogs entered the conference spring championships in third place and seven strokes behind the leader. However, they have slipped back to seventh after turning in team totals of 343 and 324 on a blustery day at Woodland Hills Golf Club in Eagle, Neb.
Head coach Brett Muller’s squad now owns a three-round score of 300-343-324–967 with one round remaining in the 2016-17 season. Concordia sported an average team score of 304.1 coming into the week.
“We just didn’t have in the low 70s which we’ve had all year,” Muller said. “Obviously the conditions were extremely tough today, but they were tough for everybody. We just didn’t do a good enough job adjusting to the day.”
Freshman Tylar Samek handled the conditions the best, carding rounds of 81 and 77 on Monday. He’s still within range of an all-conference finish (top 10 are automatic). He’s currently tied for 13th with a cumulative score of 73-83-79–235. The three other Bulldogs that qualify on the overall leaderboard are Nolan Zikas (76-91-79–246, T-27th), Jared Knoepfel (84-82-85–251, T-30th) and Russell Otten (77-92-85-254, 36th). Tyler Ehresman joined the fray on Monday and turned an 87-81–168.
Concordia will attempt to rebound on Tuesday when they return to Woodland Hills for the fourth and final round of the GPAC championships. The action is set to get underway at 9 a.m. CT. The GPAC will have live scoring available HERE.
“We played a little better on the second 18 today,” Muller said. “We need to go out and put up a low score and hopefully move up. We’ve played well at times this semester and want to finish on a high note.”
Bulldogs place seventh in GPAC; Knoepfel finishes strong
April 25, 2017
EAGLE, Neb. – Hopes the Concordia University men’s golf team had of winning a conference championship were dashed by a rough 36 holes of action on Monday, which was the first of two days at the GPAC Spring Championships. On Tuesday, the Bulldogs left a more positive impression, turning in a team score of 314 for a significant improvement.
When everything settled, head coach Brett Muller’s squad was left with a seventh place conference finish. Concordia concluded the GPAC championships with a four-round total of 300-343-324-314–1,281. The Bulldogs sat in third place following the lone conference round played back in the fall.
“Today was a better day for us,” Muller said. “As a team we got off to a great start on the front nine, but let too many scores slip away late in the first round. I am proud of Jared (Knoepfel) and the way he played in his final round as a Bulldog.”
In his last time out as a collegian, senior Jared Knoepfel carded the team’s lowest round on Tuesday by shooting a four-over-par 75 (tied for fourth best on the day). Knoepfel placed 26th overall in the GPAC with his four-round total of 84-82-85-75–326. The team’s highest place finishers were freshman Tylar Samek (73-83-79-86–321) at 22nd and sophomore Nolan Zikas (76-91-79-77–323) at 24th. Junior Russell Otten was the other Bulldog to qualify for the individual leaderboard. He placed 33rd (77-92-85-79–333).
A 91 in the second round of the championships cost Zikas a shot at repeating a top-10 conference finish. Zikas won or tied for first at both the third and fourth GPAC qualifiers last season as a freshman on his way to a ninth-place claim. Zikas ended up with a team season best average of 76.65 over 17 rounds in 2016-17.
Of the five Bulldogs to compete at the GPAC championships this spring, only Knoepfel is a senior. Concordia will return its top three players, in terms of 18-hole average, for 2017-18.
Zikas garners All-GPAC honors for second-straight year
May 12, 2017
SEWARD, Neb. – Sophomore Nolan Zikas is now 2-for-2. On Friday (May 12), Zikas reeled in his second all-conference honor in as many years. A ninth-place GPAC finisher as a freshman last season, Zikas came in 24th this season at the conference meet. His overall solid season helped him earn an at-large selection from conference coaches as an All-GPAC honoree.
In 2016-17, Zikas played in each of the team’s 17 rounds (eight events) and turned in four top-10 finishes and two top-five placements. Among teammates with at least 10 rounds played, Zikas led the way with a 76.65 season average. The La Vista, Neb., native turned in a season best one-under-par 70 at the Siouxland Invitational during the fall portion of the schedule. Zikas shot a 73 or lower six times throughout his sophomore campaign. Zikas carded a four-round GPAC total of 76-91-79-77–323.
Zikas and the men’s golf program placed seventh in the GPAC (300-343-324-314–1,281).
Ehresman, Knoepfel tabbed Scholar-Athletes
May 20, 2017
SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University men’s golf team has placed two Bulldogs on the list of 2017 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes. Senior Jared Knoepfel earned the award for the second year in a row while junior Tyler Ehresman garnered recognition for the first time. Knoepfel, a native of Fremont, Neb., studied pre-law at Concordia. Ehresman, who hails from Omaha, Neb., is majoring in secondary education.
In order to be nominated by an institution’s head coach or sports information director, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved a junior academic status. A total of 144 men’s golf student-athletes across the nation were named 2017 Scholar-Athletes by the NAIA.
Concordia University ranks as the NAIA’s all-time leader in number of Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes with 1,256 and counting (27 for the fall athletics season). The 2015-16 season produced a GPAC best 92 Bulldog scholar-athletes and a national best 20 NAIA Scholar-Teams. The 2014-15 season culminated with GPAC-leading totals of 94 Bulldog scholar-athletes and 17 NAIA Scholar-Teams. During the 2013-14 academic year, Concordia garnered 101 Scholar-Athlete honorees (most in the NAIA) and 17 NAIA Scholar-Teams (tied for fourth nationally).
2017 Men’s Golf Scholar-Athletes
Tyler Ehresman, Jr. | Omaha, Neb. | Secondary Education
Jared Knoepfel, Sr. | Fremont, Neb. | Pre-Law
Season preview: 2017-18 Concordia men's golf
Aug. 25, 2017
Head Coach: Brett Muller (7th year)
2016-17 GPAC Finish: 7th (300-343-324-314–1,281)
Key Returners: Tyelr Ehresman (Sr.); Russell Otten (Sr.); Tylar Samek (So.); Nolan Zikas (Jr.).
Key Newcomers: Harrison Helmer; Jayden Neal; Nicholas Sandoval; Kort Steele.
Key Losses: Jared Knoepfel; Reid Wiebe.
2017 GPAC All-Conference: Nolan Zikas (24th).
The 2016-17 Concordia men’s golf season brought highs, such as the team record single round score of 288, and lows, as evidenced by the disappointing finish to the conference championships. A climb up from last season’s seventh place GPAC finish will require more consistency. That aim appears achievable given the return of four experienced and steady performers.
The likes of seniors Tyler Ehresman and Russell Otten, junior Nolan Zikas and sophomore Tylar Samek possess a combined total of 117 rounds of collegiate golf experience. Otten and Zikas have both tasted tournament victory and were the team’s top two golfers, in terms of season average, in 2016-17.
Says Otten, “I want to win another tournament individually. I won one my freshman year but I still want another one. As a team, I think we can definitely break some records this year as far as average score for the season. That low score of 288 can definitely be broken. We want it. We’re really working hard for that.”
The record breaking performance last September at the Blue River Classic gave a glimpse of the level the Bulldogs are capable of reaching. Concordia also turned in four other rounds of 300 or lower. Seventh-year head coach Brett Muller’s squad turned in an exact 300 in the first GPAC championship round, putting the team in third place at the time. However, things unraveled in the spring, leaving a “bad taste,” according to Otten.
Muller did a solid job bringing the golf programs up to a respectable level. Now the trick is making that next jump.
“On both teams we just need more consistency,” Muller said. “We need better scoring at the 3, 4 and 5 spots on both teams. I feel pretty confident in what we have coming in. I feel like both teams can definitely make a move up in the conference standings.”
Few players on the roster have showed great consistency than Zikas, who has been an inspirational figure in the way that he has fought cancer since high school. The native of La Vista, Neb., shot 73 or better in six of 17 rounds as a sophomore while earning all-conference honors for the second year in a row. Zikas is that guy who carries a smile even when times get tense.
“He’s a great teammate,” Otten said. “He’s always supportive and always there for you and helping you out with your swing and everything. His personality just keeps the mood light if we’re in a pressure situation or things get down a little. He always helps lift up the team and changes the whole culture.”
Like Zikas, Otten has the ability to play with the best in the conference. Otten and Zikas team with Samek on solid trio at the top of the lineup. Samek carded a season best 72 at the Siouxland Invitational. He’s determined to finish stronger along with the rest of his teammates.
There’s also a group of four freshmen headed by North Platte native Kort Steele, who won seven high school tournaments and owns the North Platte High School record with 36 career medals. Steele and the freshman class will have a shot to crack the five-man lineup.
“Our spots are pretty open,” Muller said. “We have four guys who have played quite a few varsity tournaments, but you still have to come in and prove yourself. We have some capable new additions that will definitely push for those top five spots.”
The Concordia men’s golf season will tee off at the Midland Fall Invite next Friday and Saturday (Sept. 1-2) at Oakland Country Club in Oakland, Neb. The GPAC Fall Championships will unfold Oct. 2-3 in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Bulldogs move up three spots on day two of Midland Invite
Sept. 2, 2017
OAKLAND, Neb. – Consistency throughout the lineup allowed the Concordia University men’s golf squad to move up three spots into a tie for fifth on the final team leaderboard at the Midland Fall Invite, which took place Friday and Saturday at Oakland Golf Club in Oakland, Neb. It was the season opening tournament for the Bulldogs.
Seventh-year head coach Brett Muller’s group improved its score by 14 strokes compared to the first round of the tournament. The Bulldogs turned in a two-day total of 314-300–614.
Concordia’s top four players all shot scores of 76 or better. Junior Nolan Zikas tied for 14th with a score of 76-74–150. He was joined in the lineup by senior Russell Otten (77-76–153, T-19th), sophomore Tylar Samek (84-74–158, T-41st), freshman Kort Steele (82-76–158, T-41st) and senior Tyler Ehresman (79-88–167, T-66th). Three Bulldogs competed individually: junior Grant Suchanek (87-81–168, T-70th) and freshmen Harrison Helmer (89-82–171, 76th) and Jayden Neal (87-86–173, T-77th).
Another two-day event is coming up next week for the Bulldogs. They will head over to western Iowa for the Siouxland Invite (Sept. 7-8) co-hosted by Dordt and Northwestern. The first round will unfold at The Ridge in Sioux Center, Iowa, before moving to Landsmeer Golf Club in Orange City, Iowa, for day two.
Steele shoots even par, Bulldogs place third at Siouxland Invite
Sept. 8, 2017
ORANGE CITY, Iowa – Each of the Concordia University men’s golf team’s top five players shot 75 or better in the second and final round of the Siouxland Invite co-hosted by Dordt and Northwestern. The two-day event played out Thursday and Friday at the Ridge in Sioux Center, Iowa, and Landsmeer Golf Club in Orange City, Iowa. The Bulldogs turned in a two-day score of 299-293–592, pushing them from fourth to third place on the final team leaderboard.
The Siouxland Invite marked the second two-day event of the fall season for seventh-year head coach Brett Muller’s squad. The Bulldogs improved their score by 22 strokes as compared to last week’s Midland Fall Invite.
“I am very proud of the way our guys competed and finished the round,” Muller said. “Yesterday we a had a great round going after 15-16 holes and gave away too many strokes late in the round. Today our goal was to finish the round. This tournament was great for our confidence as a team and is a glimpse of how good we can be. Kort (Steele) played solid all day and turned an even par round.”
A freshman from North Platte, Neb., Steele and sophomore Tylar Samek equaled a team low of 72 at Landsmeer. Overall, junior Nolan Zikas paced Concordia with his score of 71-74–145, good for eighth place. Samek (74-72–146) was hot on Zikas’ heels and placed in a tie for 10th. In his second career tournament, Steele (78-72–150) finished 22nd. Rounding out the lineup were seniors Tyler Ehresman (76-75–151; T-23rd) and Russell Otten (79-75–154; T-29th)
Another three Bulldogs competed as individuals: junior Grant Suchanek (84-91–175) and freshmen Harrison Helmer (89-83–172) and Jayden Neal (93-92–185).
The Bulldogs will take a break from tournament play until co-hosting the Blue River Classic with Doane on Sept. 19-20. The first round will be held at Wilderness Ridge Golf Club in Lincoln before shifting to Concordia’s home course, Highlands Golf Course in Lincoln, for day two of the event. The Blue River Classic will be the team’s final tune up before the GPAC Fall Championships on Oct. 2-3.
Zikas ties school record, Bulldogs make move on home course
Sept. 20, 2017
LINCOLN, Neb. – Nolan Zikas and the Concordia University men’s golf team relished the opportunity to return to the course and have an immediate opportunity to atone for a disappointing round on Tuesday. Competing at their home venue, Highlands Golf Course in Lincoln, the Bulldogs put together a strong outing, moving up five placements in the final standings of the two-day Blue River Classic co-hosted by Concordia and Doane.
The day two Bulldog charge was spearheaded by Zikas, who equaled a school single-round record by shooting a four-under-par 68 at Highlands. Seventh-year head coach Brett Muller’s squad carded a two-round total of 335-295–630, allowing it to move up from 13th place to eighth place by the conclusion of Wednesday afternoon’s action.
“We didn’t play our best (on Tuesday),” Muller said. “We knew coming to our home course we could definitely improve on yesterday’s score. You definitely have an advantage playing on your home course. I feel like we took advantage of that. Nolan played great all day. We had a lot of guys make a lot of birdies to help with our team score.”
Zikas, who entered the day as the team leader for lowest season average, certainly wasn’t satisfied with his 10-over-par 81 at Wilderness Ridge on Tuesday. Zikas finished the tournament with six birdies in his 36 holes while setting a new personal standard. His 68 was identical to the score Reid Wiebe shot at Highlands one year ago. On that same day, Zikas had shot a 71.
He got on a roll on this day. Only two of the 106 golfers at Highlands were able to outperform Zikas on Wednesday. Zikas finished in a tie for eighth on the overall leaderboard.
“I definitely wanted to beat the school record but I can’t be disappointed with a 68,” Zikas said. “There wasn’t much confidence going (on Tuesday), but I had to shake that off and really focus on putting a good stroke on the ball. I definitely could have went lower. I’ll take a 68.”
Three additional Bulldogs shot 77 or better on Wednesday, led by the 74 from senior Russell Otten, who shaved 13 strokes off his day one total. Concordia’s two through five positions at the Blue River Classic were manned by sophomore Tylar Samek (82-76–158; T-38th), Otten (87-74–161; T-52nd), freshman Kort Steele (85-77–162; T-58th) and senior Tyler Ehresman (88-80–168; T-73rd). Each player in the lineup carded a score at least six strokes better than their respective round one totals.
Three others golfed as individuals for the Bulldogs: freshmen Jayden Neal (87-83–170) and Harrison Helmer (87-84–171) and junior Grant Suchanek (94-83–177). All three had nearly identical scores at Highlands.
The most significant action of the season is coming up Oct. 2-3 when the GPAC Fall Championships take place at Willow Run Golf Course in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Bulldogs hope to move up from their seventh place conference finish in 2016-17. Zikas is a two-time all-conference performer.
“We played pretty well there last year,” Muller said of Willow Run. “It’s a course our guys should be somewhat familiar with. I think it fits our game pretty well. In the next week-and-a-half we need to fine-tune what we’re doing and sharpen up some things we haven’t been the best at to get us ready for the conference tournament.”
Ehresman shoots career low, Bulldogs equal program record
Oct 2, 2017
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The rains stayed away and allowed the first day of the GPAC Men’s Fall Golf Championships to be played as scheduled. The Concordia University men’s golf team took advantage of favorable conditions, carding a program record-tying total of 288 (four-over-par) while competing at Willow Run Golf Course in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Monday.
Three Bulldogs shot even par or better for seventh-year head coach Brett Muller’s squad. After placing seventh in the GPAC in 2016-17, Concordia is eyeing a move up the ladder. It will take a fourth-place standing into day two of the championship meet.
“It was a good first day,” Muller said. “The course was definitely set up to score well. It was wet conditions but no wind. We were able to take advantage of the scoring opportunities. It was great to see Tyler Ehresman shoot a career best. He actually started the day with two bogeys and then birdied three of his last five holes.”
Ehresman, a senior from Omaha, cut two strokes off his previous career low that came during his freshman year. He shot a one-under-par 70 on Monday. He and junior Nolan Zikas turned in identical scores and are tied for fourth on the individual leaderboard, three strokes out of first place. Zikas has his sights set on a third all-conference season in a row.
An even-par 71 for sophomore Tylar Samek gives the Bulldogs three individuals among the top eight golfers out of the field of 50. The 71 represented a career best for Samek, who has recorded a score of 72 in two different rounds since becoming a Bulldog last fall. Concordia’s lineup was rounded out by senior Russell Otten (77; T-36th) and freshman Kort Steele (79; T-44th).
Muller wants to see consistency throughout the four conference rounds in 2017-18.
“We just need to put together another solid round tomorrow,” Muller said. “We’re five shots out of first and two shots out of second at this point.”
The Bulldog men’s golf team last shot a 288 (even par) at its home course at Highlands on Sept. 21, 2016. Monday’s 288 came in well below Concordia’s top GPAC round of 300 during the 2016-17 campaign.
The action will continue from Willow Run with round two of the GPAC championships beginning at 10 a.m. CT on Tuesday. The final 36 holes of the conference championships will be played this coming spring at Woodland Hills Golf Course in Eagle, Neb. For more details on the GPAC men’s golf championships, click HERE.
Bulldogs hold at fourth place at conclusion of first two GPAC rounds
Oct. 3, 2017
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – At the conclusion of the second round of the GPAC championships, the Concordia University men’s golf team remains in the thick of the race near the top of the league standings. The Bulldogs turned in their sixth single round score of 300 or better on Tuesday (Oct. 3) and sit in fourth place after 36 holes of GPAC golf.
It’s been a solid week for seventh-year head coach Brett Muller’s program. The Bulldogs carded a two-round score of 288-295–583 over the past two days in action that took place at Willow Run Golf Course in Sioux Falls, S.D.
“It was a little bit cooler and a little bit windier today. I’m proud of the guys for the way they played the first two days,” Muller said. “Kort Steele played very well today and Russell (Otten) as well. Russell was very consistent all day. I think he had 13 pars, three birdies and two bogeys. He was right there all day.”
Junior Nolan Zikas will enter the spring with a strong chance of claiming a third all-conference honor in his career. He is the team leader in the individual standings, sitting tied for fifth. After carding a one-under-par 70 on the opening day, Zikas turned in a two-over-par 73 on Tuesday. He has made waves for Concordia as a consistent performer.
“He’s definitely been very consistent all fall long,” Muller said. “He actually had a bad break about middle of his round on a tee ball that he couldn’t find. He thought for sure it was in play. He had to go back and re-tee. He didn’t let it rattle him and made some birdies going out.”
Otten was a big mover on Tuesday. After a disappointing 77 on Monday, he went low on Tuesday with a one-under-par 70 and soared up to 15th place on the leaderboard. Steele improved in similar fashion, rising into a tie for 20th overall by knocking eight strokes off his Monday total (79-71–150). Senior Tyler Ehresman (70-82–152) and sophomore Tylar Samek (71-81–152) are knotted for 26th place. Ehresman carded a career best one-under-par 70 on Monday.
The ground has been laid for a meaningful spring championships event. Concordia will enter 2018 just four strokes behind Doane for third place, six strokes behind Northwestern for second place and 12 strokes behind Morningside for first place.
“We definitely want to finish the fall on a good note,” said Muller in reference to this weekend’s event. “Next semester we’ll go on a spring trip and play in a tournament in Alabama. That will be a good start to the spring season. We have to put in the time and improve our averages.”
The Bulldogs will conclude their fall season this weekend (Oct. 6-7) at the annual Nebraska Intercollegiate at Norfolk Country Club. The final 36 holes of the conference championships will be played this coming spring at Woodland Hills Golf Course in Eagle, Neb. For more details on the GPAC men’s golf championships, click HERE.
Otten's 76 paces Bulldogs at Nebraska Intercollegiate
Oct. 7, 2017
NORFOLK, Neb. – In its last hurrah for the fall season, the Concordia University men’s golf team placed ninth out of 13 squads in action at Saturday’s annual Nebraska Intercollegiate held at Norfolk Country Club. The Bulldogs shot a 319 (+31) at an event that was originally scheduled to be played out over two days. Due to inclement weather and wet conditions, Friday’s round was canceled.
Senior Russell Otten carded a team low four-over-par 76 and placed 14th out of 71 golfers at the meet. Earlier this week, seventh-year head coach Brett Muller’s squad concluded fall GPAC championship action with a fourth-place standing.
Otten came in right at his season average on Saturday. Conditions were not especially conducive to low scoring. Only event champion University of Nebraska-Kearney (299) posted a sub-300 team score. Junior Nolan Zikas managed to crack the 70s along with Otten. Zikas’ five-over-par 77 placed him in a tie for 21st. The rest of the lineup included sophomore Tylar Samek (83; T-50th), freshman Kort Steele (83; T-50th) and senior Tyler Ehresman (84; T-55th).
The Nebraska Intercollegiate is a unique tournament that features Nebraska institutions only. GPAC rivals Doane, Hastings and Midland were also part of the field in Norfolk. NAIA, NCAA Division II and III and junior college levels were represented.
The Bulldogs entered the day with an average team score of 302.4 through the season’s first eight rounds of competition. Zikas will take a team best 18-hole average of 73.8 into the spring season. Aiming for his third-straight all-conference honor, Zikas is fifth on the GPAC leaderboard (70-73–143) as it currently stands.
The spring schedule has not yet been released. The third and fourth rounds of the conference championships will be staged at Woodland Hills Golf Course in Eagle, Neb., this coming spring.
Concordia places ninth at Spring Break Invitational
Mar. 9, 2018
OPELIKA, Ala. – The 2018 spring golf season teed off on Thursday at Grand National Lake Course as part of a two-day (March 8-9) Spring Break Invitational hosted by Lawrence Tech (Mich.) in Opelika, Ala. Head coach Brett Muller’s men’s golf team arrived in Alabama on Monday for their spring break getaway. Concordia placed ninth out of 12 teams at the event. The Bulldogs carded a two-day score of 331-307–638.
Muller and company have high hopes for this spring. They finished the fall in fourth place in the GPAC with two of four conference championship rounds in the books.
All but one of the five Bulldogs in action in Alabama improved their scores in round two. Senior Russell Otten turned in a team low of 80-74–154, tying him for 19th on the leaderboard of more than 70 golfers. He was followed by Nolan Zikas (81-74–155; T-24th), Kort Steele (85-76–161; T-44th), Tylar Samek (85-86–171; T-61st) and Tyler Ehresman (88-83–171; T-61st).
Zikas entered the event as owner of the team’s top 18-hole average. In nine fall rounds, Zikas averaged a score of 73.78. Otten was next in line at 76.78.
The next event on the schedule is the Bulldog-Tiger Cup featuring Concordia and Doane on March 24. The matchup will take place at York Country Club in York, Neb. Five events make up the entire spring slate for the men’s golf program.
Concordia settles for fifth place at GPAC preview
April 12, 2018
EAGLE, Neb. – Entering the day atop the leaderboard, the Concordia University men’s golf team knew it would have to play exceptionally well in round two in order to claim the GPAC Spring Preview championship. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs slipped back to fifth place at the conclusion of Thursday’s (April 12) action at Woodland Hills Golf Course in Eagle, Neb. Individually, Nolan Zikas tied for second.
Head coach Brett Muller’s squad turned in a two-day team total of 297-318–615, good enough to defeat nine of the other 14 teams in the field at GPAC preview. Concordia finished 15 strokes off of titlist Northwestern.
“Everybody played through some crosswinds today,” Muller said. “We just didn’t play as well as a team. Starting on the front nine we got off to a poor start and kind of dug ourselves a hole. The guys did a better job bringing it back on the back nine. At that point it was just a little too late.”
A one-under-par 70 on Wednesday gave Zikas a two-stroke lead going into day two. He wound up three strokes off the pace set by individual champion Russell Pick (74-68–142) of Dakota Wesleyan. Zikas still claimed his second top five finish of the 2017-18 season by carding a two-round score of 70-75–145.
The rest of the group of five included seniors Russell Otten (73-82–155; T-27th) and Tyler Ehresman (78-80–158; T-34th), freshman Kort Steele (76-84–160; 38th) and sophomore Tylar Samek (81-81 – 162; T-41st). Jayden Neal (84-80–164; T-56th), Harrison Helmer (88-83–171; 64th) and Grant Suchanek (87-90–177; T-69th) represented the Bulldogs as individuals.
“We’ll try to put this round behind us and focus on yesterday’s round and know that we can play with anybody in the conference,” Muller said. “It will be nice when we come back in about two weeks and play for the GPAC championship. The guys will be more familiar with the course. They’ve played the course now with a couple different wind conditions.”
The spring season is winding down for the Bulldogs. Their final tune-up prior to the final GPAC championship rounds is next week’s Morningside Spring Invite (April 18-19) in Sioux City, Iowa.
Steele, Bulldogs win playoff to take Midland Invite
April 17, 2018
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.
Concordia takes fifth-place standing into final GPAC round
April 23, 2018
EAGLE, Neb. – While playing its third round this spring at Woodland Hills Golf Course in Eagle, Neb., the Concordia University men’s golf team remained in fifth place in the GPAC standings by the end of Monday (April 23)’s action. By carding a 311 in the latest round of the conference championships, the Bulldogs tied for seventh on the day. They are nine strokes in front of sixth-place Dordt on the cumulative leaderboard.
Head coach Brett Muller’s squad now has a three-round GPAC championships total of 288-295-311–894 (+42). Junior Nolan Zikas has put himself in strong position for another all-conference honor. He rests in a tie for seventh (70-73-76–219) amongst the GPAC field.
Zikas and freshman Kort Steele topped the Bulldogs on Monday by eaching turning in a 76 (+5). Next in line were Tyler Ehresman (79), Russell Otten (80) and Tylar Samek (84). Those five Bulldogs have competed in all three GPAC championships rounds in 2017-18, including the first two that took place back in the fall.
Following Zikas on the individual leaderboard, Steele is 18th (79-71-76 – 226), Otten is tied for 19th (77-70-80 – 227), Ehresman is tied for 26th (70-82-79 – 231) and Samek is 34th (71-81-84 – 236). The top 10 finishers automatically claim All-GPAC accolades.
The fourth and final round of the conference championships is set to tee off at 10 a.m. on Tuesday from Woodland Hills. Teams will be going off split tees (Nos. 1 and 10). Live results can be followed HERE.
Bulldogs complete 2017-18 improvement with fifth-place GPAC finish
April 24, 2018
EAGLE, Neb. – GPAC men’s golf got a whole lot better in 2017-18. The four-round conference championship score carded by the Concordia University men’s golf team this academic year would have been good enough to win the conference by 25 strokes in 2016-17. By the time the final round of this spring’s GPAC tournament concluded at Woodland Hills Golf Course in Eagle, Neb., on Tuesday (April 24), the Bulldogs found themselves in fifth place.
Head coach Brett Muller’s program moved up two spots from a seventh-place finish in 2016-17 behind an experienced lineup. Concordia finished the 2017-18 conference championships with a score of 288-295-311-308–1,202. The Bulldogs just held off Dordt (1,203) and Hastings (1,203) for a top half of the GPAC placement.
Muller had hoped his team could make a push for a higher placement after entering the spring in fourth place. Said Muller, “Overall it’s a little disappointing. We came into the week 14 shots out of first. We wre definitely in a position where if we played well these last two days we could have moved up.”
Individually, junior Nolan Zikas placed 16th after carding a four-round total of 70-73-76-80–299. Not even one golfer scored lower than a 300 during the 2016-17 GPAC men’s championships. Zikas had entered Tuesday’s round tied for seventh on the conference leaderboard but wound up falling out of the top 10 after shooting his highest 18-hole score of the season in GPAC competition. The La Vista, Neb., native still could wind up being named to the all-conference team for the third time in his career.
Freshman Kort Steele performed the best among Bulldogs during this week’s action (76-76). Steele climbed to 19th in the final standings with a 72-hole score of 79-71-76-76–302. Following Steele on the leaderboard, Russell Otten (77-70-80-79–306) tied for 25th, Tyler Ehresman (70-82-79-76–307) shared 28th and Tylar Samek (71-81-84-77–313) tied for 32nd.
Concordia was one of four GPAC teams to use the same five golfers for each of the four conference championship rounds.
“Those guys separated themselves on our team,” Muller said. “They knew they would be the guys playing at the GPAC championships. I want to credit Russell and Tyler as they finish their careers as Bulldogs. Russell played in the top five in nearly every tournament and Tyler didn’t miss very many. Those two guys were a staple of our program the last four years.”
The good news is that the 2018-19 team will have Samek, Steele and Zikas to build around. This year’s roster also included junior Grant Suchanek and freshmen Harrison Helmer and Jayden Neal.
Zikas earns All-GPAC honors for third-straight year
May 11, 2018
SEWARD, Neb. – Junior Nolan Zikas is 3-for-3. On Friday (May 11), the conference named Zikas to its 15-member men’s golf All-GPAC squad. The La Vista, Neb., native has now raked in the all-conference award in each of his three collegiate seasons. The GPAC recognizes the top 10 finishers from the conference championships as well as five wild cards selected by the league coaches.
Zikas had to be chosen by the coaches after he placed 16th (70-73-76-80–299) on the final GPAC leaderboard. An inspirational figure who has battled through cancer, Zikas has been the program’s top golfer for two years running. In 2017-18, Zikas broke a school single-season record for best 18-hole scoring average (74.69). His four-under-par 68 at the Blue River Classic in September equaled the school standard for lowest single-round score. Zikas placed inside the top 10 of five tournaments, including two top-five placements. He shot par or better in four of his 16 rounds this past season.
Zikas placed eighth in the GPAC as a freshman and 24th as a sophomore. He will enter his senior year with a career average of 76.15 (48 rounds). Zikas served as a primary reason why head coach Brett Muller’s 2017-18 team broke the school record for top 18-hole scoring average (306.88). The squad’s 288 at the first round of the GPAC championships equaled a program standard.
Ehresman, Suchanek represent men's golf with Scholar-Athlete honors
May 17, 2018
SEWARD, Neb. – Senior Tyler Ehresman and junior Grant Suchanek have been tabbed 2017-18 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes, as announced on Thursday (May 17). An Omaha, Neb., native who graduated with a degree in secondary education, Ehresman has earned Scholar-Athlete accolades for the second year in a row. Meanwhile, the Grand Island, Neb., native, Suchanek has received the award for the first time. He majors in criminal justice, psychology and behavioral science.
In order to be nominated by an institution’s head coach or sports information director, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved a junior academic status. A total of 182 men’s golf student-athletes across the nation were named 2017-18 Scholar-Athletes by the NAIA.
Concordia University ranks as the NAIA’s all-time leader in number of Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes with 1,335 and counting. The Bulldogs have been a regular national leader for both scholar-athletes and scholar-teams and are coming off a 2016-17 academic year that resulted in 78 more scholar-athletes and 19 scholar-teams. The 2015-16 season produced a GPAC best 92 Bulldog scholar-athletes and a national best 20 NAIA Scholar-Teams. The 2014-15 season culminated with GPAC-leading totals of 94 Bulldog scholar-athletes and 17 NAIA Scholar-Teams. During the 2013-14 academic year, Concordia garnered 101 Scholar-Athlete honorees (most in the NAIA) and 17 NAIA Scholar-Teams (tied for fourth nationally).
Zikas nets All-America Scholar accolades from GCAA
July 27, 2018
SEWARD, Neb. – An accomplished performer with three collegiate seasons in the books, perennial all-conference honoree Nolan Zikas has been named a Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA). A new record number of student-athletes earned All-America Scholar status including, 267 in Division I, 126 in Division II and 23 in NAIA. Additionally, 62 honorees were added to the previously released Division III Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholars.
To be eligible for Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar status an individual must be a junior or senior academically, compete in at least three full years at the collegiate level, participate in 50-percent of his team’s competitive rounds, have a stroke-average under 76.0 in Division I, 78.0 in Division II, 78.0 in NAIA and 79.0 in Division III, and maintain a minimum cumulative career grade-point average of 3.2. A recipient must also be of high moral character and be in good standing at his college or university.
A native of La Vista, Neb., and product of Papillion La Vista High School, Zikas came in well under the required 18-hole average of 78.0 by topping the 2017-18 Bulldog golf program with a 74.69 average. Zikas played in all 16 rounds (nine events) and recorded five top 10 finishes, including two top five claims. His four-under-par 68 at the Blue River Classic last September equaled a program single-round record. Over his career at Concordia, Zikas holds a 76.15 stroke average in 48 rounds since the start of the 2015-16 season. He is majoring in recreation and sport studies.
Zikas and the rest of head coach Brett Muller’s men’s golf squad will open up the 2018-19 campaign with the Blue River Classic Sept. 4-5 in Lincoln, Neb.