DAKOTA DUNES, S.D. – As Morningside College head men’s golf coach Todd Sapp reflected on history Wednesday, April 24, he turned his attention to the past two Mustangs seasons.
“It’s been building,” he admitted after the Maroon reached the summit of the Great Plains Athletic Conference with a third round 300 and final 18 289 to earn the league championship and a berth to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ tournament in late May. “We were second in 2017 and 2018 … those guys (on those teams) served as a good example to this year’s team about where we wanted to be. The foundation was in place … we just needed to go out and get the job done.”
The Mustangs ranked No. 18 on the current Bushnell/GolfWeek national coaches poll, did that and more. They overcame loop rival Northwestern College for first during the opening 18 at Dakota Dunes Country Club Tuesday and turned a one-shot edge into a 16-stroke victory with a low round on the final day. Their rise to the top featured the third and fourth successive competitive rounds in which Mside has been atop a team leaderboard and a remarkable run of 20-plus where they’ve been either first or second.
“The commitment from this team has been wonderful,” Sapp noted. “I know they’ll be just as diligent in their preparations for nationals … they want to make this a memorable experience.”
A trio featuring senior Cody Holck (SR/Ankeny, IA) (Ankeny, Iowa), junior Corey Matthey (JR/Sergeant Bluff, IA) (Sergeant Bluff, Iowa) and freshman Sam Storey (FR/Surrey, England) (Sussex, England) provided top 10 individual finishes at each turn. Matthey, the reigning conference and NAIA Player of the Week for his league preview medalist victory April 15, was just as steady going three under over the final 36 to end second (287). Storey rebounded from a difficult 77 Tuesday to go one-under on the last day and place fourth (289), and Holck’s 292, tying him for sixth, included a memorable second 18 during the fall when he attacked Willow Run Golf Club with a 66.
“It’s great having three guys like that who are just so rock solid (to lead us),” Sapp said. “However, everyone who had an opportunity during the fall and spring contributed in some way … a total team effort from start to finish.”
Morningside moves into preparations for the national meet in the coming days. The 2019 NAIA Championships are May 21-24 at Las Sendas Golf Course in Mesa, Ariz.