Dawgs move up leaderboard in final round

By Aaron Graff, @Aarongraff_DE

Coach Justin Fetcho’s team tied for its best finish ever in his first season.

SIU men’s golf tied for second place with Northern Iowa at 901 and 37-over par, out of nine teams at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship, at The Club at Porto Cima in Sunrise Beach, Mo.

The Dawgs were in fifth place after the first two rounds on Monday at 28-over par. They had the second-best round Tuesday, which was 10 strokes better than UNI, to surpass Bradley and Evansville on the leaderboard.


“We had the first tee-time of the day,” Fetcho said. “I thought it was a good draw for us if we got off to a good start and apply a little pressure to the other teams.”

Wichita State won the tournament for the eighth consecutive year at 864 and even par. Evansville and Bradley tied for fourth, two strokes behind Southern Illinois and Northern Iowa.

“[Wicihita has] kind of been head and shoulders above the rest of the conference for the last few years,” Fetcho said. “We didn’t try and let them affect us. We tried to stay within our game. To win the conference and to win by that much just goes to show how good of a program and how good of a team and season they had this year.”

Senior Wade Thompson led the Salukis at 4-over par, tying for fifth place. It was the highest finish by an SIU golfer since Patrick Sheil placed also fifth in 2010.

Thompson shot 78, 70 and 72 in his three rounds. 

“I really wanted to win, but I’ll take a top-5 finish any day,” Thompson said.

Junior Drew Novara followed at 11-over par, tying for 19th. Senior Andrew Mitchell tied for 21st at 12-over. Senior Steve Souchek tied for 31st at 21-over. Senior Brady Brown tied for 26th at 15-over.


Souchek shot a 33, 3-under par, in the last nine holes. Novara credited his teammates for the comeback. He was not happy with his final round. 

Novara shot 76, 73 and 78 in his three rounds respectively.  

“It kind of left a little sour taste in my mouth,” Novara said. “I think I’ll have this taste in my mouth for a while. So it’ll give me something to build on and to keep pushing to work harder this summer and the following seasons to come.”

Fetcho was hired before this season. The Dawgs have never won the conference tournament in its 41 years. They have finished second three other times.

The team has four returning players next season, one of which played in the tournament. Fetcho said he expects them to play a highly competitive summer schedule to stay good next year. 

“The unfortunate thing about this whole process is I have five guys sitting here in the van with me and unfortunately four of them won’t be part of the program next year,” Fetcho said. 

Aaron Graff can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311 ext. 256.