Men's spring preview: Horizon League
During the month of January, Golfweek will preview the spring season for each conference. Check out all of the previews here.
Today, we look at the Horizon League.
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5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Top of the class: Cleveland State
• Player to watch: Andrew Bailey, Cleveland State. Ranked No. 153 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, Bailey is proving yet again why he is the reigning Horizon League player of the year. He also won the honor in 2012 and was named the Horizon League newcomer of the year in 2011. Bailey racked up his second and third collegiate wins this fall. Let’s see if can have another encore as POY.
• Freshman to watch: Patrick Luth, Cleveland State. Luth had one top-20 finish this fall and ended with a 74.9 stroke average. He was one of four players, and the only freshman for the Vikings, to play all five tournaments.
• Conference championship: April 25-27, Mission Inn Resort, Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.
• Past champions (since 2009): Valparaiso (2013), Loyola-Chicago (2012), Cleveland State (2011), Detroit (2010), Cleveland State (2009)
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(Golfweek/Sagarin rank in parentheses)
- Cleveland State (No. 165): The Vikings placed second at three of five tournaments this fall. The team’s other finishes were fourth at the Marshall Fall Invitational and seventh at the UC Bearcat Invitational. Senior Andrew Bailey won the Turning Stone Tiger Invitational and the UD Flyer Invitational. He finished as the low player on the team in four of the teams five events. Junior Michael Balcar, senior Brendan Byrne and freshman Patrick Luth played in all five events for the Vikings. Byrne had a top-10 finish at the Marshall Fall Invitational.
- Green Bay (No. 207): The Phoenix won the five-team Chicago State Invitational in late September. Two players – junior Tom Boockmeier and senior Dan Ozga – tied for medalist honors at the Green Bay Invitational and the Green Bay Shootout, respectively. Junior Joe Collard and sophomore Gene Kiela III had the lowest scoring averages of 75.1. Add in redshirt freshman Joe Du Chateau and all five players played in all six tournaments this fall. The team is looking to capture its first Horizon League title in program history.
- Youngstown State (No. 213): A second-place finish at the Colgate Invitational was the Penguins best finish of the fall. Sophomores Bill Gaffney and D.J. Holub, and junior Bryan Yeo played in all five tournaments during the fall. Holub had the best finish on the team when he placed third at the Bowling Green John Piper Intercollegiate.
- Detroit (No. 223): A tie for third was the highlight of the fall season for the Titans. At the Cleveland State Invitational, the team shot a 6-under 282, the lowest score of the season. Senior Brendan Leonard, sophomore Wil Wittman, freshman Kyle Gaines and sophomore Aaron Knutson played in all four events for the Titans. Between the four players, they had four top-10 finishes, including Wittman who had a top 5.
- Valparaiso (No. 227): The defending Horizon League champions finished as the runner-up at the Bowling Green John Piper Intercollegiate. Freshman Peter Webb was the only player to play in all six events this fall. He placed in top 5 twice, at the John Dallio Memorial and at the Golfweek Program Challenge. Senior Kyle Henning, junior Joe Harris and freshman Nick Seitz also complied top-5 finishes this fall.
- Oakland (No. 237): Oakland's best finish of the fall was at the Cleveland State Invitational (seventh). Evan Bower and Mark Foster played in all 12 rounds for the Grizzles. Bowser and Alex Turner had the team’s only top-10 finishes of the season.
- Wright State (No. 254): The Raiders placed ninth at the Cleveland State Invitational, which was their best finish of the fall. Cody Nickson’s 16th-place finish at the Flyer Invitational – the team’s final tournament of the fall – was the best finish by a Wright State player.