The Northwestern men’s golf team won their first tournament of the season, the Eagle Spring Classic, by shooting a collective score of 616 in the two-day, 36-hole event in Bartlesville, Okla.
Senior Austin Reitz took home individual honors that he earned by shooting 76-70 to win by five strokes over the tied second place individualists. This is the third time the senior has gone home as the medalist in his career as a Raider.
“During a round of golf, at some point you are going to face a challenge, and the way that we competed and handled these moments of adversity this week was great,” Reitz said. “This team is filled with a bunch of hardworking guys who really have a passion for the game. It was nice to see that hard work and dedication pay off with a team win right out of the gates.”
Adding to Reitz’s thirty-six-hole score of 146 to lead the team to victory was freshman Caleb Badura, who tied for 16th with a score of 156. Two Raiders tied for 18th at 157, sophomore Isaac Knock and freshman Tyler Merley. Junior Ryan Vaden and sophomore Jake Olsen rounded out the Raider scores with scores of 160 and 163, respectively.
As of the March 8 NAIA coaches’ poll, the team is currently ranked nationally at number 22 with 143 points and is the only GPAC team to be ranked.
The next event for the Red Raider men’s team is the Lawrence Tech Invite on March 29 and 30 in Moline, Ill., where the golfers will play the TPC Deere Run golf course. The team will also be playing a home meet at Landsmeer Golf Club on April 9 and 10 before the GPAC preview meet on April 15.
The men have their shot to clench a fifth-consecutive GPAC championship title on April 23 and 24 at Dakota Dunes Country Club in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota. The team is currently in first place halfway through the championship, which began this fall, holding a six-stroke lead over Morningside College and a fifteen-stroke lead on Midland University.
Badura is in first place as an individual with a three-stroke lead over a pair of golfers from Morningside and Dakota Wesleyan University. Winning the GPAC Championship automatically sends the first place team to the national championship in Mesa, Ariz.