As the SIUE golf team says goodbye to four of its golfers, the team played their last tournament of the season at the OVC Championship, placing fifth out of eleven teams.
The Championship took place in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, from April 21-23.
The Cougars placed fifth with a score of 868 and a par of +4, behind Jacksonville State University, 836, par -28, Belmont University, 847, par -17, Murray State University, 860, par -4, and Austin Peay University, 864.
Head Coach Derrick Brown, who was named the 2019 Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year, said the team struggled with putting.
“Overall, we hit the ball really well off the tee. We just didn’t get the putts that we needed to get us to the top of the leader board. Overall, I’m happy with our finish, and I’m proud of our guys,” Brown said.
Senior Conor Dore shot a 68 during the first round and ended the tournament tied for eighth place with a score of 213.
Dore was named to the All-OVC team.
Despite the team’s accomplishments, Dore said he still wanted more out of the tournament.
“It was a little bit disappointing. We had probably been the best team [in conference] throughout the year, so to not close it out with a win was certainly not ideal. But, at the same time, we’re very proud of the year we did have,” Dore said.
Dore graduates this semester but left his mark on SIUE’s athletic history.
Dore’s 68 in the first round is the best score from an SIUE golfer at the OVC Championship. Dore also has a second-best all-time career average of 74.1. Dore competed in 115 rounds as a Cougar.
Another graduating senior, Kyle Slattery, tied for No. 24 with a score of 218.
Slattery beat the school record for career scoring average with a 73.6 and beat the record for rounds played with 123.
Slattery was awarded the honor of All-OVC team for the second year in a row.
The Cougars broke the school scoring average record as a team with a season average of 290.3.
Senior Will Starkey also tied for No. 24 with a score of 218. Junior Albert Nilsson finished with a score of 226 in No. 38. Senior Grant Gavin and freshman Brooks Jungbluth did not finish the tournament.
Slattery said the team next year should have no problem picking up and living up to the name that the golf program has built for itself.
“I feel like me and the other three seniors definitely left the program better than we found it,” Slattery said. “We’ve gotten better every year, so we’re in a pretty good spot right now.”
The team will be losing four seniors for the 2019-20 season.
However, there will be four returners: two sophomores and two seniors.
The team has recruited four freshmen for the upcoming season. Jungbluth was also named to the All-Newcomer team.
“We’ll be an extremely young team next year. We’ll have to learn about competition really fast. Some of the young guys will have to step up right away for us to be competitive,” Brown said.
The team spent most of the 2018-19 season in the top spots in the OVC.
Looking into next season, Brown said he has high hopes that there will be no drop-off in rankings for the team.
Brown hopes to see the returners step up and lead the new golfers to help the team continue moving forward.