Rain prevents Saluki comeback attempt

By Aaron Graff

The men’s golf team was ready to compete Monday, but the course was not.

Coach Justin Fetcho said Illinois State University’s Weibring Golf Club in Normal was already soft from last week’s rain. More rain on Monday made it unplayable. He said the greens were underwater and lightning made it impossible to get the last round in.

Illinois State won the tournament with a score of 584, only four strokes better than SIU.


“Third place is nothing to hang your head about,” Fetcho said. “But we went up there to win the tournament, so we’re a little disappointed we didn’t get an opportunity to play [Monday] and try and go out there and get the win.”

Fetcho said he was happy with how the team played, because it minimized mistakes.

Senior Steven Souchek led the way for SIU with a career-best, 1-stroke-over par finish through 36 holes. He tied for third place individually.

“It’s a nice feeling, but at the same time it’s kind of bittersweet,” Souchek said. “I didn’t get to make a run for the individual title because it got rained out. It’s also bitter because more than anything I’d rather have the team succeed over myself.”

Souchek said he’s been adjusting his swing by changing his alignment and keeping his stance more open.

“It’s hopefully a more powerful swing,” Souchek said. “It’s just kind of a transition to hopefully bring a little more consistency out of my game.”

Senior Andrew Mitchell and junior Drew Novara qualified for the United States Golf Association National Amateur Championship at the same course in July, but course conditions added strokes to their scores.

Mitchell tied for 16th at 4-over-par and Novara tied for 32nd at 7-over-par. Senior Wade Thompson rounded out the scoring for SIU at 8-over-par. Senior Brady Brown finished 18-over-par.

“Nobody really felt like we played that great,” Novara said. “To see that we were only four shots out of the lead is a pretty big confidence booster.”

Novara played at the top spot for the Salukis.

“I battled the best that I could,” Novara said. “In the first round I only hit five fairways, so my driver got me in a lot of trouble.”

Last season, the team finished the tournament in 11th out of 15 teams. Novara said this year’s team has better chemistry because it has played together longer. He said former coach Leroy Newton and Fetcho did the best job they could to prepare the team.

“Neither [Newton or Fecho] hit any shots in the tournament,” Novara said. “Once you get on the course it’s you against the golf course.”

Fetcho said he is still adjusting the lineup, and all eight golfers will get a chance to prove themselves in tournament play.

“The lineup to me is still wide open,” Fetcho said. “We’re still searching for our players one through five.”

The Salukis play at the Louisville Cardinal Intercollegiate on Sept. 29-30 in Louisville, Ky.

Aaron Graff can be contacted at [email protected]on Twitter @Aarongraff_DE or 536-3311 ext. 256