Wichita State earned its fourth consecutive MVC championship with a 15-stroke win at the 2011 event, contested on the par-72, 7,036-yard layout at The Club at Porto Cima in Sunrise Beach, Mo.
The Shockers (303-303-297-903) had four golfers finish in the Top 16, including Tyler Gann, Hunter Sparks, Calvin Pearson and Rafael Becker. Illinois State finished second with a three-round 312-315-291=918. The Redbirds’ 291 in the third round was a tournament low 18-hole team score.
Cody Schweinefus of Drake won medalist honors after beating Gann in a sudden-death playoff. Schweinefus won on the first playoff hole, carding a par on the par-4, 461-yard No. 18 hole, while Gann bogied the hole. Schweinefus, as league medalist, will automatically qualify for the NCAA Regionals. Wichita State, too, earns automatic qualification as a team with its conference championship. The NCAA field will be announced May 9 at 5 p.m. CT.
The Shockers are the fifth team in league history to win four titles in succession. Wichita State has now won 10 of the league’s past 13 titles while their 16 overall titles is a conference all-time high.
Missouri State took third place with a 924, as the Bears had their best finish since 2000 when they were second that year. Creighton, too, had one of its best finishes of all time, taking fourth place with a team score of 932. Its the second-highest showing for the Bluejays in their history (3rd-2007). Drake (5th, 935), Evansville (6th, 937) and Bradley (7th, 937) were tightly bunched, while Southern Illinois (944) and UNI (945) rounded out the team scoring.
The 54-hole tournament was suspended after two lightning delays on Monday after teams had completed the first round and played 2-5 holes in the second round. Teams completed their second rounds following an 8 a.m. shotgun start on Tuesday, while the weather steadily improved throughout the day. Most of the final 18 holes were played in sunny conditions with low winds.
The 2011 all-conference team was announced at the championship. The top six finishers at the league championship automatically qualified, while four others earned at-large selection based on play during the regular season. Voting took place to determine a Newcomer of the Year, Golfer of the Year and Coach of the Year. And new this year, the league recognized an Elite 18 Award recipient, given to a qualifying student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA. Coby Thompson of Bradley was this year’s recipient.