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Wide open field highlights NAC Championships

Wednesday, October 07, 2009  
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10/7/2009 10:32:08 AM

MADISON, Wis. - If the regular season is any indicator of how the Northern Athletics Conference Men’s Golf Championship will go, then it likely will come down to the final shot at Whistling Straits. Both of this season’s pre-conference meets, the Culver’s Edgewood College Classic and the MSOE Fall Invitational had just two strokes separating the first and second NAC teams.

The Irish Course at Whistling Straits will accommodate the NAC Championship for the fourth consecutive year, with Edgewood College serving as the host school on October 12-13. The 6,750-yard layout has seen MSOE win the previous two titles with the host Eagles taking the 2006 crown.

The winner of this event will be the Northern Athletics Conference champion and will have the inside track to an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships. Scores from the NAC Championship combined with next spring’s NAC AQ Meet will determine the league’s qualifier.

(Sorry, there will be no video of the 18th green on Tuesday as previously announced. There is no power source available on site.)

Aurora University boasts the player with the lowest scoring average this season in Brandon Vicory at 75.9 strokes. The Spartans were the second best NAC team at the Culver’s Edgewood College Invitational and posted a 300, the lowest team score in the NAC this season, at that event.

Benedictine University has the second lowest team average this year at 313.8 per 18 holes. The Eagles are paced by R.J. Schwalbach who has three top-five finishes in four events this fall. Schwalbach is second in the league in scoring average at 76.3. Benedictine has been the runner-up at this event in each of the last two years.

Concordia University Wisconsin is led by Phil Waara who averages 84.5 shots per round. Waara and teammate John Wengel are the only Falcons to post sub-80 rounds this season. Concordia Wisconsin’s best finish at the NAC Championships was fifth place in 2007.

Edgewood College was the top NAC finisher in each of the two pre-conference meets, placing second at the Culver’s Edgewood College Invitational and winning the MSOE Fall Invitational. The Eagles have the lowest team score average in the NAC at 313.5, led by Logan Kranz and his 77.6 stroke average. The Eagles have four players in their line-up averaging under 80 strokes per round.

Lakeland College’s Gary Petit shot an even par 72 on the second day at the MSOE Fall Invitational, for the lowest score of that event. Petit’s 77.3 stroke average leads a Muskie team anxious to improve on last season’s fourth place finish, their best in NAC history.

Marian University opened the season by winning the seven-team Lawrence Fall Classic, shooting a 325, their best score of 2009. Jim Wick has the lowest scoring average on the team at 84.7, but Cory Ashbeck has recorded the lowest single round, firing a 76 on September 12 at Eagle Creek Golf Course in Hortonville.

MSOE is the league’s defending champion and was last season’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Championships, placing 24th in the nation. Dane Zachman has the third-lowest scoring average in the conference at 76.6 and has two sub-75 rounds to his credit. MSOE scored a new tournament record 617 at last season’s NAC Championships.

Rockford College enters the NAC Championships led by Matt Weber’s 84.7 stroke average. Weber and teammate Anthony Williams have combined for all 11 of the Regents’ sub-80 rounds this season. Rockford’s best finish was a seventh-place effort in 2006.

Wisconsin Lutheran College’s Kyle Madsen shared the individual title earlier this year at the Loras College Fall Invitational, shooting a 77 in the single day event. He leads the Warriors with an 83.7 stroke average. Wisconsin Lutheran was the runner-up to Edgewood College in 2006 event and placed fourth last year.

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