April 25, 2014
Southern Illinois was picked to finish in ninth place at the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Men's Golf Championships, which begins on Monday at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill.
SIU head coach Leroy Newton believes his squad is poised to finish higher than others expect, based on the team's second-place finish two weeks ago at the TSU Big Blue Intercollegiate.
"We're playing our best golf of the season right now and our confidence level is high," Newton said. "Having played in so many bad-weather conditions, I think our team has learned how to overcome adversity."
Caleb Harms is the team's hottest golfer after finishing second among 83 participants at at the Big Blue Intercollegiate. He was named the MVC's Golfer of the Week on April 16.
Since 2006, Newton has led Southern to five top-three finishes -- more than any conference program except Wichita State and Illinois State. The Salukis placed third in 2006, 2009 and 2013, and they took second in 2008 and 2010.
Wichita State is the favorite to win the championship this year. The Shockers received seven of nine first-place votes and 79 total points to outdistance Illinois State in the poll. The Redbirds received the remaining two first-place votes and 74 total points.
No. Team (1st Place Votes) Points
1. Wichita State (7) 79
2. Illinois State (2) 74
3. Evansville 59
4. Missouri State 54
5. Bradley 41
6. Loyola 36
7. Northern Iowa 33
8. Drake 16
9. Southern Illinois 13