Bulldogs Capture GLIAC Championship Crown With Playoff Win

(Left to Right): Kyle Wittenbach, Trent Davison Joe Brown, Head Coach Mike Mignano, Garrett Simons, and Ian Straayer.  (Photo courtesy of Wayne State Athletics)
(Left to Right): Kyle Wittenbach, Trent Davison Joe Brown, Head Coach Mike Mignano, Garrett Simons, and Ian Straayer. (Photo courtesy of Wayne State Athletics)

The 2010 fall season for the nationally-ranked Ferris State University men's golf team has been one of unpredictability as the Bulldogs had not finished among the top five teams in each of their three tournaments to date.

Ferris State chose an opportune time to earn a top-five placing as the Bulldogs claimed the 2010 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Men's Golf Championships title by defeating Wayne State in a playoff this Monday (Oct. 4) at the Grosse Ile (Mich.) Golf and Country Club course.  Both teams completed regulation play with identical three-round 889-stroke totals (+37) to force a sudden-death playoff.  Host Wayne State rallied from eight strokes down with six holes remaining to tie the Bulldogs for top team honors in the two-day (Oct. 3-4) conference tournament.

Ferris State produced an 889 team score as a result of 298, 295, and 296 rounds while Wayne State turned in rounds of 298, 291, and 300 among the 11 conference teams vying for the tournament title.  Grand Valley State and Findlay both carded 904 team scores (+52) to share third-place honors.

The GLIAC Championship title represents the 19th in the program's history and the Bulldogs' first since the 2004-05 season.  FSU earned top team laurels in the 2004 league tournament by notching a 917 score (+53) on the Blackberry Patch Golf Club course in Coldwater, Mich. 

Low team scores typically result in top-notch individual performances and that was certainly the case for Ferris State as senior Kyle Wittenbach (Lowell) claimed medalist honors with a two-over par 215 score (75-66-74=215, +2).  Wittenbach the second Bulldog golfer to take home a first-place individual award as former standout Eric Lilleboe achieved top status at the 2009 GLIAC Championships by netting a four-under 205-stroke total.  Wittenbach tallied three birdies in the third round, which included a pair on the second nine holes, to end up plus three for the round.  His best round of the tournament was in the second as evidenced by five birdies en route to a five-under par 66 score.  Wittenbach's stiffest competition for the top place on the leaderboard came from Wayne State's Eric Johnson, who carded a 219 score (+6).

Junior Ian Straayer (Caledonia/Grandville) climbed all the way up from a 13th-place start to finish fifth with a 222 score (73-77-72=222, +9).  A pair of seniors, Joe Brown (St. Ignace/LaSalle) and Garrett Simons (Grand Ledge) made their final GLIAC Championship appearance a memorable one with top-20 place showings.  Brown (74-75-74=223, +10) was among three individuals to garner a share of sixth place while Simons (76-77-76=229, +16) joined three others in occupying 18th place.

Freshman Trent Davison's (Rockford) carded a 234 (77-80-77=234, +21) in the three-round tournament to prove deserving of a 30th-place tie with two other individuals. 

The Bulldogs' showing in 2010 was a significant improvement upon last season's GLIAC Tournament performance in which FSU shot a three-round 908 team score to tie for fourth place.   

Ferris State is back on the links this weekend (Oct. 9-10) as the Bulldogs take part in the Tiffin Kyle Ryman Memorial Tournament to be held at the Mohawk Golf Course in Tiffin, Ohio.