The Clan men’s golf team continues to climb leaderboards ahead of April’s championship season.
Last week the men travelled south for the California Baptist Invitational where, after a very strong opening round that saw them take the lead, they finished in second place at tournament’s end. The SFU squad posted a team score of 875, only three strokes behind the winners and Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) rivals, Western Washington University.
Senior captain Mike Belle led the team through the three-round event, finishing in a tie for 10th position with rounds of 71-70-75 for a tournament total of 216. Belle’s was not the only quality performance, as four of the five men finished in the top 30 of the 96-player field.
Following his captain was John Mlikotic who finished in a tie for 14th with a total of 218 strokes and rounds of 70-73-75. Bret Thompson followed in 24th place after faltering in the latter rounds of the tournament. The sophomore’s opening round of 67 was five strokes below par, but he couldn’t hang on, adding 77 and 78 in rounds two and three. Freshman Kevin Vigna finished in a tie for 29th place with scores of 78-72-73, improving significantly over the second two rounds and only one stroke behind Thompson. Their tournament totals were 222 and 223 respectively.
Rounding out the Clan side was freshman Craig Titterington, appearing in his first collegiate tournament where he opened with a very respectable round of 74. He stumbled in the later part of the tournament with rounds of 77-83, posting a three-round score of 234. The Clan men have one final tournament before they head to the GNAC Championships
Boasting three of the top-10 scoring averages in the conference in Belle, Thompson and Vigna, the Clan have an excellent chance to win the title. Sitting at 19th in the NCAA Division II rankings, the Clan also hold the second best team scoring average in the GNAC with 298.6, just behind Montana State Billings with 298.1.
The men will be looking to advance to the West Region Championships for the first time since joining the NCAA in 2010, a chance they narrowly missed in 2013, when the Clan finished third at the conference event.