CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - The Southern Illinois men's golf team finished third at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship, its third top-three finish in the last five years. Brandon Cauldwell earned an All-Conference nod for his season stroke average; and Joe Goelzhauser, Caleb Harms and Jake Erickson all earned flags for their top-18 finishes.
"I couldn't be more proud of our kids," head coach Leroy Newton said. "We went out and battled these last two days. This is a very hard golf course, and our kids went out and just played tremendous."
The tournament marked the end of the career for four Saluki seniors. Brandon Cauldwell, Jake Erickson,Joe Goelzhauser and Jeffrey Miller all ended their careers on Tuesday. The seniors contributed to two tournament titles and four individual tournament titles.
"People need to understand that these are special kids," Newton said of the seniors. "What they did here over the course of their careers was more than anyone could expect. They went out and exceeded expectations every day. They worked harder every day than the day before, and the results were tremendous. It's a special group."
Joe Goelzhauser played three solid rounds on the tough, par-72, 7,175-yard Dalhousie Golf Club course. He finished ninth in the tournament for his first top-10 finish of the year. His ninth-place finish is the best finish for a Saluki golfer at the MVC Championship since Patrick Scheil and Jake Erickson finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in 2010.
Caleb Harms (13th) and Jake Erickson (t-17th) also earned flags at the post-tournament ceremony for finishing among the top-18. After shooting an 85 in the first round, Harms shot 3-under-par in the final two rounds to jump from 42nd in the 50-player tournament to 13th.
Brandon Cauldwell earned a spot on the All-Conference team for his season scoring average. All-Conference team nods went to the top-six finishers at the MVC Championship and the next four best season scoring averages. Jeffrey Miller (235) rounded out the Saluki five.
Wichita State won the tournament, its 18th team conference title. Rafael Becker of Wichita State won the individual title to claim WSU's 17th individual conference title.
9. Joe Goelzhauser: 73-75-74 (222)
13. Caleb Harms: 85-69-72 (226)
t17. Jake Erickson: 76-77-75 (228)
t26. Brandon Cauldwell: 76-79-75 (230)
32. Jeff MIller: 79-75-81 (235)
1. Wichita State: 288-281-289 (858)
2. Illinois State: 297-296-297 (890)
3. Southern Illinois: 304-296-296 (896)
4. Bradley: 307-304-297 (908)
5. Drake: 301-308-300 (909)
6. Evansville: 306-306-299 (911)
7. Missouri State: 310-305-298 (913)
8. Creighton: 315-314-300 (929)
9. Northern Iowa: 309-303-319 (931)
Nine teams, 45 players
Dalhousie Golf Club
Par 72, 7,175 yards
Tyler Gann, Wichita State
Brandon Cauldwell, Southern Illinois
Wils Hawn, Illinois State
Joey Johnson, Missouri State
Quinn Vilneff, Evansville
Calvin Pearson, Wichita State
Devin Leland, Drake
Louis Cohen Boyer, Wichita State
Hunter Sparks, Wichita State
Rafael Becker, Wichita State
Elite 18: Quinn Vilneff, Evansville (Top GPA in top-18 golfers)
Newcomer of the Year: Joey Johnson, Missouri State
Golfer of the Year: Hunter Sparks, Wichita State
Coach of the Year: Grier Jones, Wichita State