Golfers continue surge to MIAA Championship

corey garriott

Thrifty is nifty, but thrice is nice as the Washburn golf team is being stingy by no means in its thirst to acquire wins and recognition.

Three weeks, three wins – do the math.

Washburn is here to stay.

The Ichabods took the Otter Invitational in Seaside, Calif., by 11 strokes over nationally-ranked North Alabama. Washburn also fought off three other nationally-ranked teams – Florida Gulf Coast, CSU-Stanislaus and CSU-San Bernardino.

The now No. 21-ranked Ichabods finally have the long deserved respect and attention from teams on the coast.

“It’s enormous,” said Matt Ewald, sophomore Ichabod golfer. “There were some good teams out there. Going into the tournament we didn’t expect to come out on top. We knew if we played well we had a chance to do well. We did well and we ended up on top.

“It’s good to show all those teams out in California who we are and how we can play.”

Ewald, individually, finished runner-up with a three-round total of 218, good enough for 2-over par.

“I was in contention the whole way,” said Ewald. “I played really good the first round. The second round was in the afternoon on Monday, and the wind picked up so the course played four or five shots harder for everyone.

“[Tuesday], I just didn’t putt well. I think I had a chance to win it if I had minimized my mistakes. I played great overall, just a couple of mistakes here or there cost me, but that’s golf.”

Also finishing in the top 10 and scoring for Washburn were Taylor Dunham, senior, Ryan Deutsch, junior, and Matt Lazzo, freshman.

Dunham finished in a tie for fourth with a 9-over-par 225. Deutsch and Lazzo finished in a tie for eighth with 12-over-par 228s.

“I played solid the first day,” said Deutsch. “The second day not quite as well, my short game let me down a little bit. It was tough to score out there.”

Added Lazzo: “I was just solid the whole week – not bad but not good.”

John Robbins, junior, rounded out the Ichabod’s team with a 22-over-par 238, good enough to land him in a tie for 48th place.

With four nationally-ranked teams teeing off, the Ichabods had enough work on their hands. However, most golf courses aren’t meant to be an easy play either.

“The course was playing tough, it was really tight. The greens were so firm, I haven’t seen anything like that in a really long time,” said Deutsch. “If you were coming from the rough it was tough to land the ball on the green and keep it on there. It was like hitting on pavement.”

Ewald said he thought the toughness and style of the course played a lot like the Ichabod’s home course – the Topeka Country Club.

“It was a tough course – very similar to the Topeka Country Club where it’s real tight and tree lined. It had pine trees, and if you hit it in them the ball would get stuck in them, kind of like a glove,” said Ewald.

And with the Ichabods not playing as well as Ewald thought they could have, a familiarity about the course was welcome.

“I think it was very advantageous to us that it was like the Topeka Country Club,” said Ewald. “So even though we didn’t feel like we played our best, we still played better than everyone else.”

Lazzo also agreed they didn’t play sparkling rounds, but acknowledged they can’t be too dissatisfied with how each of their three rounds ended.

“We had the low round each round team wise. So obviously we were playing good, it just seemed like we could’ve played better,” said Lazzo.

Washburn will take this week off from tournament action to relax and then gear up to stake its claim on its fourth MIAA conference championship in five seasons. The conference tourney will take place April 23-24, in Branson, Mo., at the Branson Creek Golf Club.

“We would like to win the conference championship to sweep all five tournaments, which would be nice for us,” said Ewald.

Washburn has won the first four MIAA tournaments to take a commanding lead in the conference into Branson. Washburn leads Central Missouri 32-25 with Missouri Southern at third with 23.