Men's Golf travels to Missouri for MVC Championship

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    April 22, 2011

    By Dana Ingraham

    CARBONDALE, Ill. -- After last year's breakout performance at the Missouri Valley Conference Championships, the Southern Illinois men's golf team is ready to make a similar impact with a few new faces in 2011.

    The MVC Championship, hosted by Missouri State, is scheduled for April 25-26 at the Club at Porto Cima in Sunrise Beach, Mo. (Lake of the Ozarks). The 54-hole tournament begins with two rounds Monday followed by a final round of 18 holes Tuesday.

    SIU is picked to finish seventh in this year's pre-championship poll, but head coach Leroy Newton's teams have a history of picking just the right time to perform up to their potential. The Salukis have finished fourth place or higher at the conference tournament every year since 2004, including finishing in the top-three in four out of the last five years.

    "We feel like we have had a good season so far, but this could really top it off," said Newton. "Every tournament we have worked towards getting better and we have been competing well. We have some different players this year, but I think the same kind of scenario can play out like it did last year at conference."

    The scenario Newton is referring to was in 2010 when everything was clicking for the Salukis at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan. Southern was again picked to finish seventh out of nine Valley schools, but led by all-conference performers Patrick Scheil and Jake Erickson the team remained in contention for its first MVC title in program history for the duration of the tournament before eventually capturing second place overall.

    Erickson is the only returner from that comeback squad, but he is joined by four solid performers in Brandon Cauldwell, David Griffin, George Tate and Richie Williams, who have each come into their own in their first seasons as Salukis.



    Cauldwell leads the team with a 75.3 season stroke average and one top-five individual finish, while the other four hold 76 averages. Newton is confident that this group has what it takes to produce three good rounds and end up as one of the Valley's top-four teams once again.

    "Each of our players is a better golfer right now than he was at the beginning of the season," Newton said. "Wichita State, Missouri State and Illinois State have consistently established themselves as top tier teams, but if we play as well as we are capable of at the same time, we can easily finish among them. We are ready to be tested and see what we can do."

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