Men’s golf using strong finish and offseason to create success

( file photo)

( file photo)

By Ted Ward, @TedWard_DE

The weather outside may be getting colder, but SIU men’s golf team is warming up inside a metal shack on Hickory Ridge golf course.

After a fall season in which the team competed in four matches across the country, coach Justin Fetcho said he is excited for what the spring season will bring.

“I’ve been very encouraged with the strides we made this offseason,” he said. “We’re coming into this year with a goal and expectation to be the best team in the conference.”


The Salukis best finish during the fall season was their last match, a fifth-place tie at the Kennesaw State Intercollegiate on Oct. 19. Led by freshman Peyton Wilhoit, who finished with a 223 three-round score, SIU gained momentum heading into the offseason with areas to improve in mind. 

“We learned a lot about ourselves throughout the fall, as far as strengths and weaknesses, and were able to overcome adversity and finish strong,” Fetcho said.

Wilhoit, who finished tied for the team lead with the a 3-over-par average in the fall, started strong with a 16th place finish at the D.A. Weibring Intercollegiate at Illinois State on Sept. 14.

The Searchy, Ark., native said although he had a good fall, he still had things he needed to improve on.

“Putting and chip-ins were some of my weaknesses from the fall,” Wilhoit said. “I worked hard this offseason to be a more well-rounded golfer and I’m hoping to make even bigger strides for the spring.”

For senior Drew Novara, the spring season means one last go around before graduation. He finished tied with Wilhoit for the lower average on the team.

Novara said it hasn’t really hit him that he’s graduating and it adds more emphasis on things to improve on.


“I’m trying not to think about it and just focus on getting back to where I need to be,” he said. “I had a broken hand in the fall season, which didn’t help matters, but I’d like to try and hit more greens in regulation and work on my short game more.”

SIU men’s golf will head out of the frozen tundra of Carbondale to a warmer climate for the Arizona Intercollegiate on Jan. 29 in Tucson, Az.

Ted Ward can be reached at [email protected] or 618-534-3303