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SIU men’s golf wins first MVC championship

Then-junior golfer Matt Greenfield practices his chipping March 8 at Crab Orchard Golf Club in Carterville. (Sean Carley | @SCarleyDE

Then-junior golfer Matt Greenfield practices his chipping March 8 at Crab Orchard Golf Club in Carterville. (Sean Carley | @SCarleyDE

By Jacob Gaertner, @JGaertnerDE

The Saluki men’s golf team won its first Missouri Valley Conference Championship in program history Tuesday at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan., with a score of 877, 37-over-par. 

The victory ends an eight-year championship winning streak for Wichita State, which finished second this year at 48-over-par. The Dawgs finished in fifth place in the regular season MVC standings out of nine teams, while the Shockers were first according to GolfStat. The Shockers have finished in first or second in the MVC tournament each of the last 20 years.

“From the time our guys arrived on campus in August, everything we’ve done was preparing to win this conference championship,” head coach Justin Fetcho said to Saluki Athletics. “I’m so excited for these guys because they’ve worked extremely hard. To see it all come together is very, very special.”

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SIU was led by junior Brandon Carlson, who placed third and shot 5-over-par during the three rounds.

Freshmen Peyton Wilhoit, +8, and Luke Gannon, +12, both finished in the top 10. Junior Matt Greenfield, +13, finished in a five-way tie for 11th place.

Carlson and Wilhoit were named to the MVC All-Conference team and Fetcho was named MVC Coach of the Year.

Fetcho said the team started out great, but hit some rough patches toward the middle. He said he’s proud of how the team fought through the adversity.

Carlson had a slow start Tuesday, scoring a double bogey on the third hole, but finished with 70 for the day.

“I didn’t let it get to me and slip away. The team needed me, and I gave it my all,” Carlson said in a release. “I was going head-to-head with the Wichita guy for a while and I put the dagger in on the last three holes.”

Wilhoit led the field after Day One after shooting 68, and remained in first after a Day Two score of 73.

“It’s a dream come true,” SIU’s only senior Drew Novara told SIU Athletics. “I don’t think anyone outside of our team really understood how much talent we have.”

Novara finished at 25-over-par and tied for 33rd place.

Illinois State freshman Trent Wallace had the best individual score in the championship, finishing 1-over-par. 

SIU’s previous best finish in the tournament was last year’s second-place ranking.

Jacob Gaertner can be reached at [email protected] or 618-534-3303. 

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