Men’s golf team competes in NCAA tournament

Trevor Drew

The men’s golf team traveled down to Noblesville, Ind. on Sunday to take on the competition at the Fourth NCAA Great Lakes Midwest Regional held at the Purgatory Golf Club April 10-11 for their second to last opportunity to secure their top-10 regional ranking to qualify for the NCAA Super Regionals.

The team performed well over the weekend and was not bothered by the wind unlike some of the other competitors, head coach Kyle Wittenbach said. As long as the team continues to work and train hard, there is no doubt that the team will place well in future competitions, he added.

The ’Cats started off cooking in the first round, shooting 303, which positioned them in fourth place out of the 30 teams competing.

Sophomore Austin Elsner led the Wildcats in the first round, shooting a 74 to finish in a tie for ninth in a competitive field. Fellow Wildcat freshman Martin Eliasson also breached the top-15  tying for 15th after shooting a 75.

Northern Michigan was one of two Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference teams in the top five after the first round. The other was Northwood, who ended the round in second, scoring 299.

On the final day of competition, the ‘Cats walked away from the second round with 308 points, making their final score for the weekend 611, which put them in the top-10 position of seventh place.

Elsner shot 71 in the second round, tying for third among individual golfers with a final score of 145. Because of his performance, Elsner was named to the all-tournament team along with others who made a top-five position.

Elsner attributed his and the team’s success to their practice sessions where they prepare to combat any situation or any kind of weather condition.

“We are just really level-headed. We don’t get ahead of ourselves or think about the past too much when we get bad holes or get in a bad situation,” Elsner said. “We stay in the moment very well.”

Eliasson was able to maintain his position in 15th after shooting one stroke over his first round score for a total score of 151 (75-76).

Freshman Owen Beyer shot a 78 each day to finish in a tie for 49th. Junior Emil Lundgren (t-75th, 76-83) and freshman Logan Haight (t-133rd, 85-86) also contributed to Northern Michigan’s final score.

Currently the team is ranked fifth regionally out of 35 teams. Their final chance to secure this position and qualify for the NCAA Super Regionals will be this weekend at the GLIAC Championships April 15-17 at Nashport, Ohio.

“If we keep performing this way and have a good tournament this next week, we will make it to Super Regionals,” Elsner said. “I’m very confident. Myself and the team performed at a very high level this weekend.”