SIU men’s golf finishes seventh at MVC Championships

By Gus Bode

SIU men’s golf finishes seventh at MVC Championships

The SIU men’s golf team picked the worst possible time to play poorly, – the Missouri Valley Conference Championships.

The Salukis shot a 315 in the second round Monday, the second worst round of any team in the three-round tournament, resulting in a disappointing seventh-place finish, two spots lower than the Salukis were picked to finish.


“It kind of sucked, I guess,” said junior Grant Goltz, who finished 33rd. “We were picked to finish fifth, and we thought we were a little underrated going into it. Once again, we all picked the same time to play bad.”

In that second round, no Saluki golfer shot better than 78. In the third and final round, the Salukis shot a respectable 300, with Dustin Stewart and senior Josh Wheeler firing 71s.

Head coach Leroy Newton said the performance didn’t represent the true quality of his team.

“We’re better than that. We’re better than seventh in the conference. If we play our golf, we should have been third or fourth.”

Pre-tournament No. 1 pick Wichita State came back from six strokes down on the final day to defeat Illinois State. The Shockers also took the individual win. Ty Kline’s 212 was one shot better than Northern Iowa’s Mike Lewis.

On the trip home, the Salukis weren’t dwelling on their underachievement.

“I don’t feel too good about it,” Wheeler said. “I know we can do a lot better, but the tournament’s over with. The first round coming off a 296, we had our mind set on really playing well that second round and then the weather got bad. I don’t know. I think we kind of let our guard down a little bit.”


Stewart and senior Tim Hoss tied for 20th to lead the Salukis. Wheeler tied for 25th, and Roger Welch finished in a 38th place tie.

Wheeler said his strong third-round score allowed him to go out on a good note.

“I wanted to do my best, but at the same time, if things didn’t go all that well, you can’t be upset with it,” Wheeler. “I played bad the first two rounds, but today I shot a 71. I finished the tournament on a good note. My last college round was good. I’m happy with that.”

Despite the loss of Hoss and Wheeler, Goltz said SIU has a bright future. Three of the five golfers that competed in the MVC Championships will be returning.

“We got a couple big time recruits coming on, and the sky’s the limit for next year,” Goltz said. “I’m sure this will always be in the back of our minds, but it will be really as conference time rolls around next year.”

Reporter Ethan Erickson can be reached at [email protected]