Tuesday, April 28, 2009 | Golf
2009 State Farm MVC Men's Golf Championship


For the eighth time in the last 11 years, Wichita State earned the team title at the State Farm MVC Men's Golf Championship.  Teammates Dustin Garza and Connor McHenry shared medalist honors in leading the Shockers to the title, as each fired a three-round even-par 216 to eclipse the field.  The 2009 championship was played at the par-72, 7,242-yard layout at Dalhousie Country Club in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

The Shockers outdistanced second-place Illinois State by 15 strokes, taking the team title with a three-round 295-296-291=882, while the Redbirds claimed the runner-up trophy with a three-round 897.  Southern Illinois claimed its third top-three finish since 2006 as the Salukis ended up with a team score of 915.  Missouri State claimed fourth (929), narrowly edging Drake (931), Evansville (933), Bradley (936) and Northern Iowa (937).  Creighton finished ninth with a three-round 952.

Wichita State's team title was its second-straight and a league-record 14th overall.  It also marked the 14th time a Wichita State individual had claimed medalist honors - also a league record.  Individually, three Shockers finished in the Top 10, including Garza and McHenry (216), and Zac Potter (t7th-226).  A pair of Redbirds finished in the Top 5, including Kyle Bragg (3rd-222) and Tommy Bliefnick (t4th-225).  Bliefnick was in a three-way tie for fourth with Jay McBride of Missouri State and Todd Obergoenner of Southern Illinois.

The top six finishers at the conference tournament, plus at-large selections based on regular-season GolfStat ratings earned all-conference honors and they include:  Dustin Garza, Connor McHenry and Zac Potter from Wichita State; Todd Obergoenner and Jordan Cox from Southern Illinois; Kyle Bragg, Tommy Bliefnick, Joe Emerich, and Jeff Kellen of Illinois State; and Missouri State's Jay McBride.

During the awards ceremony, the league also recognized its Golfer of the Year (Garza), Newcomer of the Year (Jordan McLaurin of Missouri State) and Coach of the Year (Grier Jones of Wichita State).  It marks the seventh time Jones has earned Coach of the Year honors.

Despite poor weather in regions just surrounding the area, Tuesday's final round was played in good conditions, with a slight breeze, party cloudy skies, with temperatures approaching 70.  Monday's 36-hole round was played with a strong wind with gusts that eclipsed 40 mph.

MONDAY RECAP:  Garza fired an even-par 144 (73-71) and leads his teammate by two strokes (McHenry was 73-73=146).  Players from four different teams hold the next four spots as Creighton's Michael McDonnell fired a 75-74=149 and holds sole possession of third place.  Three players are tied for fourth place with identical 151 scores.  Will Cullen of Illinois State, Chris Niemiec of Bradley and Todd Obergoenner of Southern Illinois pace their teams.

The Shockers, defending champs, fired a 295-296=591 (+15 as a team) and lead second-place and tournament pre-championship favorite Illinois State by 13 strokes.  The Redbirds fired a 303-301=604 and hold a nine-stroke lead over third-place Southern Illinois.  The Salukis shot 309-304=613.  Evansville is fourth (623), followed by Missouri State (625), Drake (627), and two teams tied for seventh (Bradley and Creighton with 629).  Northern Iowa had a 16-stroke improvement from the first round to the second round and hold ninth place at 638.  Missouri State had the best improvement from the opening round to the second, going from 322 as a team to 303 (19 strokes).

The championship is being played at the par-72, 7,242-yard Dalhousie Country Club in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

2009 Course Information -- Southern Illinois University is the host for this year’s championship in Cape Girardeau, Mo. | Link to Dalhousie web site: Click Here

Format:  Individual stroke play – team competition.  Players will play 54 holes for the medalist competition.  The team score for the 54-hole competition will be comprised of the best four of five scores for each 18-hole round from each team.  The final score is determined by totaling each daily round.

Pairings -- Pairings on the first day shall be determined by the pre-championship coaches’ poll.  Pairings for subsequent rounds shall be based on the results of the previous round, with the highest scoring teams and individuals teeing off first.  Play will begin at 8:00 AM each day.

2008 Review -- Wichita State had a dominant performance at the 2008 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship, played at the Davenport Country Club in Pleasant Valley, Iowa.  The Shockers won the tournament by 24 strokes over second-place Southern Illinois, while Connor McHenry claimed individual medalist honors by finishing four strokes better than teammate Dustin Garza, who finished in second.   All five Shockers earned all-conference honors as the Shockers enjoyed the largest margin of victory at the MVC championship since Tulsa won by 26 strokes in a rain-shortened 36-hole tournament in 1995.