Men’s golf takes fourth at MVC championship

By Gus Bode

A season full of ups and downs for the SIU men’s golf team ended positively Tuesday as it finished in fourth place in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.

The Salukis were picked to finish last in the conference, and two consecutive last-place finishes heading into the tournament seemed to put the Salukis on that track after they finished 10th out of 10 in the Branson Creek Invitational on April 3, and 16th out of 16 in the Arizona State Indian Classic on April 10.

However, Seniors Andrew Gwinup and Daniel Tomlin helped the Salukis bounce back to finish fourth out of nine in the MVC. Gwinup finished in a tie for eighth overall, shooting 11-over-par 221, while Tomlin tied for 13th with a score of 14-over-par 224.


Gwinup said it was a special day for him because it was the last time he could play with the team.

“It was a special day no matter what, regardless of what would have happened,” Gwinup said. “[Tuesday] had a lot of positives to it and hopefully the team can build on that for next year.”

Tuesday marked the third and final round of play on the Kansas City Country Club golf course. The course played 6,822 yards with a par of 70.

SIU edged out Drake by five strokes heading into the final round. Drake ended up shooting a better final round with a score of 299, but the Salukis shot a final round of 301, good enough to beat Drake by three strokes.

Tomlin notched his best round Tuesday, shooting 71, the sixth best overall score for the day. He improved every round shooting a 78 in the first, 75 in the second and his eventual 71 at the end.

Tomlin said he was able to improve his putting in the later rounds, which helped to his gradual improvement during the tournament.

“I started putting a lot better in the last two rounds,” Tomlin said. “The course suited my game. The course was real tight and the short game was important for this course which helped.”


SIU was in third after the first round of play Monday, shooting a 297. The Salukis slipped to fourth after shooting 20-over-par 300 in the second round, while Creighton overtook them by shooting three-over-par 283.

Senior Mark Schmitz led the Salukis in the first two rounds of play, carding 75s in both rounds. Schmitz struggled in the third round however, shooting 18-over 88.

SIU coach Leroy Newton said he was proud of the way the Salukis played.

“I am pleasantly surprised and proud of the way the kids played,” Newton said. “Mark was outstanding in the first two rounds, Braxton Weaver shot outstanding in the final rounds, Blake Driskell, the freshman, played very well and Daniel shot the round he deserved. They did everything they could and showed what they are capable of doing.”

Illinois State won the tournament, shooting a tournament best one-over-par 281 in the final round to hold off Wichita State who came in second. The overall individual winner was Creighton’s John Sutko who finished four-under-par for the tournament.

Tomlin said he was proud of the way the Salukis finished their season and believes they will be able to build off this next season.

“I think Blake will be the backbone of SIU golf for the next couple years and they will be alright with all of us gone,” Tomlin said. “We know what we are capable of and we showed everybody we are better then what we were getting credit for.”