Golfers club competition in regional, qualify for nationals

Eric Smith

Nearly all the spring sports at Washburn have been completed for the year. However, thanks to a regional win at Findlay, Ohio, the Washburn golf team is at the 46th annual Men’s Golf Championships in Houston, Texas.

Last Wednesday the Ichabod golfers finished up the three-day NCAA Division II Central Regional Tournament at the Red Hawk Run Golf Course, shooting a 20-over 884, 13 strokes ahead of second-place Central Missouri.

“The goal going into it was to win the tournament and make it to nationals. And we did that,” said senior Ryan Deutsch. “We played pretty solid.”

The 14th-ranked Ichabods’ score not only won them the Central Regional but also put them atop the teams from the Great Lakes Regional who were playing on the same course. Indianapolis, the winner of the Great Lakes Regional with a score of 885, will also head to the national tournament.

“Everyone played well enough to get it done,” said Deutsch. “Everything’s going to have to be a little bit sharper this next week to have the success we want to have.”

Individually the Ichabod golfers all finished within nine places and eight shots of each other. Senior John Robbins led the way shooting a 4-over 220, good for fourth place.

“He made some birdies this week,” said Deutsch. “I know he made six on the last day. It was tough to make birdies. If you could do that and try to avoid some of the big numbers, you were looking pretty good.”

Juniors Matt Ewald and Matt Salome finished close behind, shooting a 7-over 226 and tying for sixth place. Deutsch and sophomore Matt Lazzo rounded up the team, finishing with an 8-over 224 for eighth place and a 12-over 228 tied for 13th place, respectively.

“I gave up some shots in the second round,” said Deutsch. “That’s the one I’d like to have back.”

The Ichabods’ win at the regional tournament was their fifth in the last six years. The lone time they didn’t make it to nationals was in 2005-2006, when the Ichabod golfers finished second.

Through the years the Ichabods have steadily increased their score at nationals with experience, gaining a school-best fifth-place finish last season. Robbins finished with a school-best fifth place.

This year’s Division II National Championship will be held this Wednesday through Saturday at the Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston.

“I’ve played in Texas a few times before, but I’ve never been to Houston,” said Deutsch. “I heard it’s been really humid and warm down there.”

The upcoming tournament will be the last for the two Ichabod seniors, Deutsch and Robbins.

“I’m not going to worry about [it being my last tournament] a whole lot right now. We’re just treating it like any other tournament,” said Deutsch. “I want to do the best I can get everything out of each round.”

The men’s golf championships is just one of the events being held as part of the NCAA Division II Spring Sports Festival. The Washburn men’s tennis team will also play in Houston this week.

“It’s pretty cool that we have two teams from Washburn in the same place competing for the national championship,” said Robbins. “Hopefully we both can represent Washburn well.”