Daily Egyptian

Golfers Wilhoit and Netisingha thrive in fall season

By Nathan Dodd

Saluki golfers Peyton Wilhoit and Hanna Netisingha put the spotlight on SIU’s men’s and women’s golf with impressive fall performances.

Wilhoit and Netisingha cemented themselves as leaders of the men’s and women’s teams, respectively, and brought a championship caliber of play to the links in each event this fall.

The impressive play of the Saluki standouts earned each golfer awards and honors throughout the season.

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Peyton Wilhoit

The junior from Searcy, Arkansas improved his finish in the standings from one tournament to the next.

“Peyton has continued to improve from the day he arrived on campus,” men’s head golf coach Justin Fetcho said. “He has a chance to win any golf tournament if he just goes out and golfs the way he is able to.”

In the first two events of the season Wilhoit tied for 41st out of 89 at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate and 36th out of 75 in the Golfweek Conference Challenge.

Senior Peyton Wilhoit, of Searcy, Arkansas, poses for a portrait Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, outside of the Communications Building. (Brian Muñoz | @BrianMMunoz)

He earned the best finish of his collegiate career in September when he tied for fifth at the David Toms Intercollegiate.

Wilhoit posted a 2-under-par 142 at the David Toms Intercollegiate tourney and received Missouri Valley Conference Golfer of the Week honors for the third time in his career.

The Arkansan claimed his first career victory two weeks later at Kennesaw State’s Pinetree Intercollegiate and became the first Saluki tournament champion since 2013.

In the 36-hole tournament, Wilhoit carded a 7-under-par 137 that helped vault the Salukis to their first team title since winning the Murray State Invitational to open the season last year.

“It was a long time coming,” he said. “I had been trying so hard to find a way to win. Now that I did, it’s like a weight lifted off my shoulders.”

His first individual win once again earned the junior MVC Golfer of the Week recognition.

“It’s a good feeling to win [Golfer of the Week],” Wilhoit said. “What I’m doing on the course is more exciting. Those honors are just things that come at the end as an added bonus.”

Hanna Netisingha

Netisingha — a senior from Carol Stream, Illinois — competed in each of the Salukis’ tournaments since the 2015-16 season.

“She’s the staple in our lineup,” women’s head golf coach Alexis O’Brien said. “She’s our leader and our captain. Hanna is a critical piece of the puzzle.”

Senior Hanna Netisingha, of Carol Stream, makes a chip shot Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, at Hickory Ridge golf course. (Mary Newman | @MaryNewmanDE)

Of the six events that the women’s team competed in this fall, Netisingha only failed to place in the top-20 once.

Netisingha finished in the top-5 in three different tournaments: the APSU Intercollegiate, Chi-Town Cougar Classic and MVC Preview.

With a 4-over-par 148, Netisingha recorded the second individual victory of her collegiate career at the Chi-Town Cougar Classic .

“I always play well in Chicago,” Netisingha said. “Before we got on the bus, I told our coaches that I was going to try and win the thing.”

She said that one of her goals entering the fall season was to win a tournament championship. Netisingha’s mother witnessed her daughter achieve that goal in Chicago.

“One of my goals this year was to win a tournament,” she said. “I’m happy I got to do it with my mom there.”

The Saluki senior’s performance earned her MVC Golfer of the Week honors for the second time since 2016.

“I get so excited to win MVC Golfer of the Week,” Netisingha said. “It’s nice to be recognized by the conference. It’s something to be proud of when you compete against some of the best golfers and you get to come out on top for the week.”

Netisingha’s consistent finishes near the top of the individual leaderboard led the Salukis to victory in three of its last four tournaments.

As one of the team’s upperclassmen this season, Netisingha said that she wanted to improve her play, approach and attitude.

“This year I wanted to make sure that I was leading the team,” Netisingha said. “I wanted to show the underclassmen how much fun golf can be. I made sure to have fun because I don’t want to leave SIU with a bitter taste in my mouth about golf.”

Sports editor Nathan Dodd can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @NathanMDodd.

To stay up to date with all your SIU sports news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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