Huntington University used a final round 6-over 294 to surpass day one leader Indiana Wesleyan to win the 2009 Mid-Central College Conference Golf Championships at Rock Hollow Golf Course by five strokes. It is the sixth time that the Foresters have captured the title with the last coming in the 1990-91 season. The win gives the Foresters an automatic bid to the NAIA Men's Golf National Championship held at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. May 19-22. It marks the first time that HU has qualified as a team for the event.
"Our goal from the beginning of the season was to get to the NAIA National tournament," said an ecstatic Coach Mark Green who was named the MCC Coach of the Year for the second straight year. "I'm just excited for these guys that they accomplished what they set out to do."
The Foresters had their work cut out for them after posting a 317 on the first 18 on Monday morning. Heading into the afternoon round, HU was tied for fourth and 12 strokes off the lead. The Foresters regrouped and shot the low round of the second 18 with a 302. Ryan Bonner and Jordan Dawes both shot a 75 to lead HU. With one final round left to play on Tuesday, the Foresters trailed Indiana Wesleyan by five strokes.
Through the first 13 holes, HU wasn't able to make up much ground, but finished the final five with a flourish to upend the defending champion Wildcats by five strokes. The Foresters again turned in the low score of the round with an impressive 294, 10 strokes better than their closest competitors.
"Our guys really played well to come back from a five stroke deficit today," said Coach Green. "Our seniors really stepped up and put together some incredible scores. The seniors were a combined one under par for the day. Shooting a 317 was not a great way to start the tournament but the guys showed a lot of poise and mental toughness to come back and get the win."
Senior Spencer Batt put together three solid rounds of 75, 76 and 72 to finish third in the individual scoring with a 223. Freshman Jordan Dawes finished with a 231 (77, 75, 79). Senior Justin Imel was one stroke back with a 232 (80, 79, 73). Senior Ryan Bonner recovered from an opening round 88 with a 75 and a 70 to finish with 233 and sophomore Cory Powell had a 244 (85, 76, 83). Four Foresters, Batt, Bonner, Dawes and Imel, finished in the Top 10 in the individual scoring to join their coach in receiving MCC All-Conference honors.
For more information on the NAIA Golf National Tournament, see NAIA Tournament Information.