The Gustavus men’s golf team is prepared to compete in the NCAA Division III Championships on Tuesday, May 15 through Friday, May 18 held at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. After claiming second place in last October’s MIAC Championships and taking first and second in their last two meets, the Gusties earned an at-large bid into this year’s NCAA Tournament.
According to the latest Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) poll, Gustavus ranks 19th in NCAA Division III. Methodist is the top-ranked team, while Oglethorpe and Guilford round out the top-three in second and third, respectively.
The Gusties are making their second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championships and seventh in the last decade. Gustavus won the national championship in 2004 but has not cracked the top-13 since. Under the direction of Head Coach Scott Moe, the Gusties have qualified for the national tournament 13 times in his 16 years at the helm, including seven top-ten finishes.
Last year, the men’s squad missed the cut after the second round. Alex Kolquist continued on as an individual and finished in 15th place, earning 2011 All-America Second Team honors. The Gusties will rely on Kolquist in this year’s national meet to be a solid contributor. The junior from Hermantown, Minn. averaged 76.4 strokes per round this season with a low round of 68 at the Bobby Krig Invitational in Le Sueur, Minn. on April 23 where he placed ninth out of 96.
Sophomore Tyler McMorrow will look to lead the Gusties after posting a team-low average of 75.0 strokes per round. The St. Cloud, Minn. native tallied a season-low round of 66 at the Saint John’s Spring Invitational on April 29, placing second in the meet. He also tied for 19th at the 2011 MIAC Championships last fall.
Fellow second-year Simon Erlandsson also hopes to have a strong showing at the national meet. The Mjolby, Sweden native has averaged 75.7 strokes per round this year with a low round of 68 at the Booby Krig Inviational. He placed second at the Gusties’ home meet with a three-round total of 74-68-73-215 (+3), where the team won the event.
Gustavus’ third sophomore standout is Andrew Oakes (Hermantown, Minn.) who has recorded a 76.0-stroke average this year and a low round total of 71 at the MIAC Championships last fall. Oakes was the Gusties’ top finisher at the conference meet, placing third with a total of 77-74-72-223 (+7).
Rounding out the top performers for the Black and Gold is junior Trevor Gervais. The Fergus Falls, Minn. native marked a season-low round of 71 at the Bobby Krig Invite and had his best finish of the season at the Saint John’s Fall Invitational, taking fourth out of 115. Gervais has posted a 77.1-stroke average this year.
Forty-one teams will compete in this year’s championships, hosted by Oglethorpe and the Central Florida Sports Commission. The Gusties have an advantage in that they have already played at the Mission Inn Resort during the fall season. The Three Crowns took 13th out of 18 teams at the 2011 Gordin Collegiate Classic on Sept. 25-27. Erlandsson led the team with a three-day total of 75-83-70-228 (+12) for 16th place.
Visit http://www.golfstatresults.com/public/static/participants_3403.html for live scoring of the tournament.