JORDAN, Minn. – The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) is set to close out its fall golf season this weekend, as the 2018 Men's Golf Championships tee off Saturday morning in Jordan, Minn.
Ten MIAC teams will compete in the three-day, 54-hole Conference tournament, which returns to The Ridges at Sand Creek for the second consecutive year. Macalester College will serve as tournament host.
The action will begin Saturday morning with the first wave of golfers set to tee off at 11:00 a.m. Teams are seeded based on their finish in last year's Championships and golfers will tee off in descending order of their place in the lineup (No. 5 to No. 1). The top-three seeded teams (St. Thomas, Saint John's, and Augsburg) will tee off in Group 1, followed by seeds 4-6 (Gustavus, Bethel, and Concordia) at 11:40 a.m. and seeds 7-10 (Saint Mary's, St. Olaf, Carleton, Macalester) at 12:20 p.m.
Sunday pairings will be ordered according to first day scores and teams will reorder their golfers according to Day 1 results, with the highest score playing in the No. 5 spot and the lowest at No. 1. Day 2 tee times begin at 10 a.m. Teams will begin play on Holes 1 and 10 at 8 a.m. on Monday. Each school will enter five players in the tournament, with the four best performances each day determining the team score.
The team that comes away with the lowest score over the course of the weekend will receive the MIAC's automatic qualifier to the 2019 NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championship.
Day 1 tee times can be found here. Teams have until 9 a.m. on Saturday to submit their final lineups.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
There are numerous ways fans who are not traveling to Jordan can follow all the action throughout the tournament. The MIAC will once again offer enhanced (unofficial) live scoring and hole-by-hole updates through Golfstat's live scoring system. Fans will easily be able to track team and individual progress throughout all three rounds.
The MIAC has a championship home page for the event, that will serve as the online home of the tournament. The championship page will include tee times, pairings and results as they become available, as well as recaps, photos and more.
IN THE POLLS
Two MIAC squads were nationally-ranked in the Bushnell Golfweek Division III Preseason Coaches' Poll. Defending MIAC champion St. Thomas opened the year at No. 10 in the nation, while 2017 runner-up Saint John's landed at No. 19. Gustavus Adolphus College just missed the cut for the Top 25; however, the Golden Gusties did receive 24 points in the balloting.
TIDBITS FROM THE TEEBOX
A few MIAC storylines and golfers to keep an eye on throughout the tournament.
Back for More: The 2018 field of competitors features six returning golfers who placed in the top-10 at last year's MIAC Championships, including: Brett Buckingham, Augsburg (T-1st); Matt Lutz, Saint John's (T-4th); Harrison Cooper, Augsburg (T-6th); Nathaniel Kahlbaugh, Concordia (T-6th); Jon Espe, Bethel (T-8th); and Noah Parker, St. Olaf (T-8th).
Buckingham Palace: Augsburg junior Brett Buckingham earned co-medalist honors at the 2017 MIAC Championships thanks in large part to a tournament-high 11 birdies. Buckingham is averaging 73.9 shots per round so far in 2018 and finished tied for the top score among Division III competitors at the Gustavus Twin Cities Classic two weeks ago.
Under Par at the Auggie Invite: Three different Royals enjoyed one-under-par rounds at the Augsburg Fall Invitational, with Michael Piehler carding a 71 to open the tournament, and Jon Espe and Noah Bragg finishing the weekend with 71 apiece in round two. Dallas Marvin scored an even-par 72 in the first round as well, helping Bethel to a second-place finish.
Kulla as the Other Side of the Pillow: Concordia freshman Matt Kulla set a new school record in his very first collegiate round, firing a 65 to begin the Augsburg Fall Invite. Kulla's 65 is a stroke shy of the best single-round score in MIAC men's golf history, a 64 shot by St. Thomas' Mark Hadley in a 2005 meet.
Golden Gusties: Gustavus junior Ben Hauge leads all MIAC golfers with an average of 73.2 through eleven rounds this season and just behind him with an average of 73.5 shots per round is first-year Jacob Pederson. Only three strokes overall (805 vs. 808) separate the pair.
First-Year Phenom: Macalester first-year Alex Johanson has recorded the Scots' eight lowest rounds of golf this season. Johanson saved his best for last, carding a one-under-par 71 to close last weekend's Saint John's Fall Invitational.
Johnnie on the Spot: Saint John's junior Matt Lutz tied for medalist honors with an even-par 144 as the nationally-ranked Johnnies won their Fall Invitational by seven shots over the weekend. Lutz leads the team with three rounds at par or better this season.
Old Reliable: Saint Mary's senior Kyle Brodt has been steady for the Cardinals all season, most recently leading the team with a five-over-par 149 thanks to a second round 73 (+1) at the Saint John's Fall Invitational last weekend.
Norway's Finest: St. Olaf senior Kristian Leik Woie earned medalist honors at back-to-back tournaments in September, first carding a five-over-par 149 at the Cobber Fall Invitational before helping the Oles to victory at the Northfield Triangular with a one-round score of 80.
Picking Up Where He Left Off: St. Thomas junior Emmet Herb - who earned 2017-18 MIAC Player of the Year honors in May - has led the No. 10-ranked Tommies with two top-10 finishes and four rounds of par or better this season. Herb tied for 14th at last year's MIAC Championships before kicking it into high gear in the spring, scoring 75-75-68-68-74-71-70-69 in his final eight rounds of the regular season.