The 2017 Missouri Valley Conference men's golf championship will take place Monday-Tuesday, April 24-25, at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club (Course #4) in Lemont, Ill. Teams will play 36 holes on Monday and conclude with 18 holes on Tuesday.
Coaches have tabbed Wichita State (79 total points) as the favorite to win this year's men's golf title. Bradley, Illinois State and Southern Illinois have been slated as the biggest challengers to Wichita State, picked second thru fourth, respectively, in the coaches pre-championship poll. Bradley received one first-place vote and 64 total points; Illinois State received 62 points in the poll; and defending champion SIU had one first-place tally and 61 total points.
Wichita State enters the MVC Championship as the league's top rated program in the GolfStat team rankings while two Shockers rank among the MVC's top six players in stroke average this year, including sophomore Yannick Emmert and senior Grant Bennett. Emmert's 71.21 stroke average was highlighted by one tournament win, and he notched the league's lowest 18-hole round of the season, recording a 63 at the Pro Compression Invite this February. He had a team-best six top-20 finishes and a team-best four top-10 finishes this season. Bennett averaged 72.73 this year to rank second-best for WSU and sixth-best in the MVC.
Evansville boasts two golfers in the Top 10 in the MVC this year, led by junior Tyler Gray's 71.93 figure, which ranks second-best in the Conference. Missouri State also has two golfers among the league best, topped by sophomore Adam Fisher at 72.87. Bradley's Ethan Brue, meanwhile, led the league this year with 3 medalist trophies. His 72.97 stroke average was the best for the Braves. Illinois State has a league-best 3 golfers among the top 10 for stroke average this year, including Trent Wallace (72.48), David Perkins (72.89) and Zach Burry (73.14).
The Shockers have been the league's most dominant program for two decades, finishing first or second (with 14 titles) in each of the last 20 seasons. Notably, the Shockers have won the league championship 14 of the last 18 seasons, including eight-straight entering last year. Last year's champion Southern Illinois is joined by Illinois State is the only other Valley men's golf teams to earn a title since the Shockers' championship run began in 1999. The Redbirds claimed team victories in 2002, 2005 and 2007.
During the season, the league sported seven team titles, while MVC golfers combined to take home 10 medalist honors during 2016-17.
COG HILL #4 ("DUBSDREAD")
A nationally ranked course since its opening in 1964. At that time, Course No. 4 was given the nickname "DUBSDREAD." The nickname "DUBSDREAD" is derived from the idea that a "dub" or poor golfer should beware and served as a warning of the challenges forthcoming. True to its name, this natural-style championship course places a high demand on shot-making ability ability by providing tight landing areas combined with heavily bunkered, large undulating greens. Over the years, DUBSDREAD has challenged professionals and amateurs alike while hosting numerous PGA Tour and USGA tournaments.