Bods ready to defend regional as No. 1 seed

Eric Smith

Several of the men on the Washburn golf team have never been to Ohio, until now. At this moment they are taking part in the NCAA Central Regional at the Red Hawk Run Golf Club in Findlay, Ohio.

“That’s what college golf is all about,” said junior Matt Ewald. “Traveling all over the country, being to places you’ve never been and playing on some great golf courses.”

The Ichabods gained a No. 1 seed and automatic bid to the regional tournament by winning the MIAA conference tournament April 22. This three-day regional tournament is like a MIAA reunion, since five of the seven teams the Ichabods are competing against are from the MIAA. Those MIAA teams are Central Missouri, Missouri Southern, Missouri Western, Fort Hays State, and Northwest Missouri State.

“We’ve played them before so we know what they’re all about,” said Ewald. “If we go out and play our game, we should be fine, as long as we go out there and compete to our full potential.”

The two teams not represented in the tournament, Truman State and Pittsburg State, have individuals at the regional. For Truman it is Chris Kovach, who won MIAA freshman of the year. For Pittsburg, sophomore Keith Capps received the honor.

The Washburn golf team has traditionally done well in the regional tournament. The Ichabods are participating in their seventh consecutive regional tournament and eighth in school history. Sophomore Matt Lazzo participated in his very first regional last season as a freshman and finished second overall.

“It’s a different kind of tournament. You have to go out there and play relaxed,” said Lazzo. “If you don’t win that tournament, you’re done for the year. The first round allows you kind of get a feel for the course. Then the second and third rounds get really intense.”

The Ichabods won their regional tournament last year by 17 strokes with then-junior Ryan Deutsch taking the tournament by six strokes. The Washburn golfers then went on to the national tournament where they placed fifth, the best finish by a MIAA conference school since 1964, when Southwest Missouri State finished fourth.

“That’s one of the good things about our team. We have a lot of experience,” said senior John Robbins. “We have been here before and kind of know how to deal with the pressure.”