AURORA, Ill. – Just one stroke, that is all that separated Concordia University Wisconsin from a Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Championship title on Monday at Stonebridge Country Club, as Wisconsin Lutheran College won in a playoff to earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship.
The Falcons made unimaginable leaps and bounds over the last four weeks, but this loss will sting for quite some time. They led by seven strokes after the opening round on Sunday and nine strokes after the second round this morning, however the Warriors made a late charge that couldn't be slowed. With both teams tied with a 958 (307-318-333 – CUW; 319-315-324 – WLC) aggregate score, they were sent to the first hole to determine a winner.
All five golfers from each team played the opening hole, with the lowest score removed and Wisconsin Lutheran won in sudden death 23-19. CUW had never finished higher than sixth at the NACC Championship prior to the last two days. Despite the outcome and the Falcons team success, there were many individual performances that will be remembered.
Sophomore Evan Rabas (Sherwood, Wis.) won NACC Player of the Year honors after earning medalist honors with a 54-hole 14-over par 230 total (77-73-80). He finished the tournament with seven birdies and 31 pars, which included 15 pars during his second round 73.
P.J. Clemins (Cedarburg, Wis.) surely made a splash over the past month and his 19-over par 235 total (71-80-84) earned him NACC Freshman of the Year honors after placing fourth overall. He shot the second-lowest round of the tournament on Sunday, a 1-under par 70, while holing eight birdie and 25 par putts throughout the tournament.
The weather and tournament setup surely played a factor in what could have ended in excitement for the Falcons. Consistent 10-15 mile per hour winds and on-and-off rain hampered the field, and no time between rounds fatigued the golfers as the day progressed. Because of inclement weather in the fall, the tournament which was supposed to be 36 holes in October and 36 holes the past two days, was shortened to 54 holes in a matter of 36 hours.
As well, junior Mike Loftus (Germantown, Wis.) tied for 25th with a 249 total (78-86-85). He had three birdies and 24 pars during the tournament. Junior Bill Jones (New Holstein, Wis.) ended in a 31st place with a 253 total (81-84-88), which included two birdies and 25 pars. Senior Chris Payne (Waukesha, Wis.) played the opening round and shot an 82 with nine pars, before being substituted for freshman Kyle Rebholz (West Bend, Wis.) in the lineup. Rebholz carded an 81 and 84 on Monday, with three birdies and 16 pars.