Wed, Aug. 15, 2012 - [Men's Golf]
2011-2012 MCC Finish: 6th of 10
Letterwinners returning/lost: 4/3
Seb Stobart Sr. Harare, Zimbabwe
(2011 Honorable-mention all-MCC, 78.1 avg., low of 70)
Adriaan de Villiers Sr. Akasia, South Africa
(77.9 avg., low of 70)
Byron Lindeque So. Boksburg, South Africa
(80.9 avg., low of 69)
Evan Thomas Sr. Oskaloosa
(83.4 avg., low of 74)
Terence Schafer Fr. Solwezi, Zambia
Ben Roberts Fr. Albia
Highlighted by the return of one of its best players, the William Penn men's golf team looks to reach new heights in the 2012-2013 season.
The Statesmen had their ups and downs last season, ending their year sixth at the Midwest Collegiate Conference Championships. Fortunately, 2011 all-league performer Seb Stobart (Sr., Harare, Zimbabwe, St. Georges College) returns from injury, giving the navy and gold big hopes.
Stobart is a two-time honorable-mention all-MCC pick and owned a 78.1 average two years ago. He was playing the best golf of his life, but suffered a season-ending broken hand in August.
"We had the potential for big things last year with Seb leading the way, but his injury slowed us and unfortunately we just did not have enough people step up in his absence," Head Coach Buster Albertson said. "His return means we are almost guaranteed an all-conference score each time out, so hopefully the lessened pressure on the rest of the individuals on varsity will mean lower scores from everyone."
Adriaan de Villiers (Jr., Akasia, South Africa, Akasia HS) will also be culminating his career this season and expects to continue his downward trend on the scoresheet. de Villiers averaged 77.9 strokes per round in 2011-2012.
"Adriaan really stepped up at times, but still had some inconsistencies at times," Albertson said. "If he shoots like he is capable of, the sky is the limit for him."
Byron Lindeque (So., Boksburg, South Africa, Christian Brothers College) posted an impressive freshman campaign, and with a year of collegiate play under his belt, Albertson expects him to be even closer to the top of the standings.
Lindeque's 80.9 stroke average vastly lowered in the spring, highlighted by a team season-best 69 in March.
"Byron started slow last year, but had the greatest improvement of anyone on the team," Albertson said. "I expect him to improve even more this year and be another great scorer for us."
Evan Thomas (Sr., Oskaloosa, Oskaloosa HS), Jordan Krulik (Sr., Chanhassen, Minn., Minnetonka HS), Tony Keller (Union, BCLUW HS), and Gibb Whitlatch (Jr., Oskaloosa, Oskaloosa HS) are all traveling in the same boat as returners whose experience should give them the inside track for varsity spots as well.
Thomas owned an 83.4 scoring mark, while Krulik was at 84.3 and Keller at 85.5. Whitlatch posted an 87.8 spot.
"Evan and Jordan showed greatness at times and could be solid varsity guys for us," Albertson said. "Tony is a graduate student, and although his scores have not always come in as low as he would like, his leadership could be vital for some of our new guys. Gibb has gotten better, but will need to continue to improve."
Terence Schafer (Fr., Solwezi, Zambia, Saint Charles College) is the team's top recruit, giving the navy and gold another talented linkster from the southern part of the Dark Continent.
"We have to give all the credit to Seb for this one as Terence is a friend of his from back home," Albertson said. "He is a little raw, but if he improves like the other African players have, we will be lucky to have him."
Local high school stars Ben Roberts (Fr., Albia, Eddyville-Blakesburg HS) and Kaden VanMaanen (Fr., Oskaloosa, Oskaloosa HS) will look to hone their skills at the collegiate level. Kolton McDonald (Fr., Ottumwa, Eddyville-Blakesburg HS), another area player, will add a mature presence as he spent the last few years in the working world.
"All three of these young men have the potential to be strong players for our program," Albertson said. "Having the opportunity to concentrate just on their studies and golf should only benefit them and hopefully that will translate to great play from them."
Austin Bringman (Fr., Sigourney, Sigourney HS) will receive guidance in a redshirt season.
William Penn opens the year on September 8-9 at Hunters Ridge Golf Course in Marion for the Mount Mercy Cropper Classic. William Penn also hosts its own tournament, The Iowa Intercollegiate, on September 20-21 at The Preserve Golf Course in Moravia.
Grand View has been depleted a bit by graduation, but should still be considered the favorite for this season. Mount Mercy had a breakout 2011-2012 year and returns much of its lineup to give the Vikings a strong battle. A deep MCC should see a tight battle between the rest of the league.
"Grand View will still be strong, but I see Mount Mercy being right there," Albertson said. "I really do not see a bad team in this conference, so the championships next spring and everything leading up to it should be very interesting."
"Our ability to be in the running at year's end will depend on how our team comes together," Albertson added. "We have strong players with loads of potential, but we need to get everyone on the same page on tournament day for us to bring home some hardware. It should be fun to be a part of."