Category Archives: Golf

Two top three finishes

Fresh off Easter weekend, the Thunder men’s golf team was back on the green this past Monday at the Elmhurst College Spring Invite. The Thunder’s seven-over-par score of 295 — only one shot behind first place Millikin — earned them a second place finish in the 11-team field.

Junior Adam Eaton and sophomore Drew Engelking led the team with identical rounds of 72 to finish in a three-way tie for fourth place. Junior Luke Grogger’s finish of 74 also earned him top-10 honors with a three-way tie for eighth place. Senior Richard Moomjian tallied 77 to tie for 16th and junior Micah Dworak finished 36th with an 82. Freshman Joshua Chung tallied a 78, freshman Jabe Gonder with a 79 and freshman Luke Meyer with an 87.

The next morning the team traveled to Kenosha, Wis. to compete at the Carthage Spring Invitational. The Thunder continued right from where they left off as they finished third out of 12 teams – behind second place Elmhurst College by only four shots.

Wheaton had two players finish top 10 individually – Grogger with an even-par score of 72 to finish second (only one stroke behind first place Matt Lynch of Carthage College) and Eaton with a 75 to tie for tenth place. Senior Robby Bowles tied for twenty-fifth place shooting a 79. Engelking put up 83 and Dworak with an 86.

The Thunder’s second place finish in the Elmhurst College Spring Invite is a major improvement from their sixth place finish last year showing that the team is in good position as they prepare to compete for the conference title. Up next for the Thunder is Millikin’s “Weist Foundation Classic” on Friday.

“The team is really coming together ahead of conference,” said senior Robby Bowles. “Different people are stepping up and shooting some good scores. Look for Micah Dworak to go low down the stretch.”

Full swing

The spring season is in full-swing for the women’s golf team after two long weeks of waiting since their season-opening tournament in Arizona. After no matches or tournaments from March 9 until March 23, the women were left to simply hone their skills and shake off the winter rust before their next real tournament.

The women hit the ground running last Friday, though, as the team traveled to Noblesville, Ind. to compete in Taylor University’s Purgatory Intercollegiate Invitational. Out of the five teams participating, the Thunder snatched a third place finish. This tied their best team finish of the season in tournaments with at least five teams competing.

Wheaton ended the tournament with a two-round event score of 682. An impressive four Thunder golfers finished within the tournament’s top 10, led by junior Rachel Goranson who finished in third place with a total of 166 with rounds of 89 and 77. Only four strokes off the lead, this was be far Goranson’s best performance of the year and was well under her stroke average of 92.1 from the 2015-2016 season.

“There were extremely strong winds so that definitely made it a challenge, but the team came back and scored really well on Saturday,” Goranson explained. “Overall, it was an encouraging weekend and we hope we can keep it up for the rest of the season.”

Seniors Madeline Bond and Ariana Kim and junior Kylie Monson all tied for ninth place with scores of 172 for each golfer. Sophomore Karissa Raschke finished in 27th place with a score of 199.

Olivet Nazarene won the tournament with a score of 675 and Taylor University was second, totalling 678. In third, Wheaton finished with 682, just a few strokes off second place.

Just a day after the finish of the Taylor tournament, three of the women were back in action on Monday and Tuesday, competing in the TPC Deere Run Invitational. Bond, Kim and sophomore Madeline Birkbichler represented the Thunder in the tournament. Bond shot a 171 for a 32nd place finish, while Kim shot a 182 and Birkbichler shot a 197.

The team only has a day off before they will be back on the green this Thursday and Friday in Kankakee, Ill.

Thunderous Third Place Finish

This past weekend, the Thunder men’s golf team competed against 15 other colleges at the Purgatory Intercollegiate, hosted by Taylor University, and tied for third place with Parkland College.

They had a solid start by ending Friday’s round with a team score of 313 – earning Wheaton a fourth place finish on the day while trailing by only one point behind Holy Cross heading into Saturday. The Thunder continued their strong play by posting an improved team score of 300 in Saturday’s final round.

The five Wheaton golfers did not disappoint during the contest — each placed in the top 35. Junior Adam Eaton and sophomore Drew Engelking led the way with identical rounds of 77 and 75, to total a two-round score of 152 – earning themselves top-10 honors as they both tied for eighth place. Junior Micah Dworak and freshmen Joshua Chung tied for 23rd with respective scores of 83-74 and 81-76, totaling 157. Senior Robby Bowles put up a score of 78-81 (159) to tie for 31st.

“It felt great to have all of us play solid, especially in extreme winds,” said sophomore Drew Engelking. “Every player finished with a two round total under 160, which is a must if we want to have a shot at conference.”

With the season running its course, the team hopes to continue their consistent, strong play. The Thunder’s third place finish is a major improvement from last year’s tournament, where they tied for ninth place. Next up for the team is the Olivet Nazarene Spring Invite on Friday.

Golf Preview

After an up-and-down 2016 fall golf season, both the men’s and women’s golf teams are looking to the spring with hope and optimism. But will the teams be able to top last year’s effort?

For the men’s team, the Thunder are hoping for a higher finish than last year’s sixth place finish in the Men’s Golf CCIW Championship. The team also had three top three finishes, the highest the Thunder finished all year.

Already, the team has tied that effort with a third place finish in their most recent spring tournament, the Arizona Christian University Spring Invitational. The Thunder are also a relatively young team with only two seniors on this year’s team, Robby Bowles and Richard Moonjam. Other key returners include sophomore Drew Engelking and juniors Adam Eaton and Micah Dworak.

In last year’s CCIW Championship, Engelking placed 16th, Eaton placed 21st, Bowles placed 27th and Dworak placed 43rd out of 47.

“This spring golf season will be a grind. We are young, it is cold, and the grass is constantly wet,” explained Bowles, “but we have some talented golfers who enjoy to work hard, and are well prepared to face what is ahead.”

Similarly, the women’s team has already bested their best fall finish by placing second in the Arizona Christian University Spring Invitational a couple weeks ago.

Unlike the men’s team, the women were able to win one tournament last year with a first place finish at the Aurora University Spring Invitational. The women also repeated their fourth place finish in the Women’s Golf CCIW Championship this fall.

With no freshmen on the team, the Thunder were led by seniors Madeline Bond with a 12th place finish and a 14th place finish by Ariana Kim in the CCIW Championship this past fall. Juniors Kylie Monson and Rachel Goranson also had 17th and 25th place finishes, respectively. Sophomores Madelin Birkbichler and Karissa Raschke finished side-to-side at number 29 and 30 out of 45.

Overall, the women will rely on the strength and experience of their team in order to succeed this spring.

Thunder conclude fall season

This past week the Wheaton women’s golf team competed in the 2016 CCIW Women’s Golf Championships on the Naperbrook Golf Course. Competition was fierce since the top finishers advanced to regionals.

The Thunder, already a small team with only six players, were relieved to have the whole team on deck for the conference tournament. The team had a tough beginning of the season when senior Arianna Kim and junior Kylie Monson were both injured and out of play. Finally back to full strength, Wheaton played all six members of the team and the four best scores of each day contributed to the team’s total score.

Each morning, the girls piled into vehicles and drove to the course to log four to five and a half hours of play. Thursday morning the first round was delayed for two hours due to rain, so the girls waited out the weather in a Starbucks.

“It’s difficult to keep your mind focused on the competition ahead when you have to wait so long for the start,” said sophomore Karissa Rashke.

They had a successful day despite the weather, ending Thursday’s round with a team score of 336. This earned Wheaton third place, just one shot ahead of North Central. Friday saw a cessation of the rain, but unfortunately brought high winds which complicated that day’s round. Wheaton dropped a place with a 350 behind North Central’s 342.

The championship ended on Saturday, a beautiful day, with Wheaton defending their fourth place position with a final score of 1029. Illinois Wesleyan took first with a 955 team score followed by Carthage and North Central. Senior Madeline Bond claimed 12th in the individual rankings with a 253, the highest placing for Wheaton Thunder. Kim tied for 14th.

Junior Rachel Goranson and Monson took 25th and 17th respectively. Finally, Raschke finished with a 282 and sophomore Madeline Birkbichler ended with a 277. All in all, it was a successful weekend of competition and conclusion of the season for the women’s golf team.

Women’s golf

Golf is a game of ups and downs, and the best of the best know how to turn a bad lie or a shanked drive into a birdie. Tough course conditions are the great equalizer because everyone must play the same 18 holes with the same hazards and tree lines. The real distinguishing factors on the links are confidence and attitude.

“Golf is such a psychological game and that really affects the game for just about everyone,” said Wheaton’s golf coach Tom Cardle.

The Wheaton women’s golf team certainly has many reasons to feel pressure entering the fall season. Surprisingly, there are no freshman on the squad this year because the team’s three recruits decided not to commit at the last minute. Senior captain Ariana Kim is out for the fall season with a leg injury, reducing the grand total of players able to play. That means each player on the team has to compete in every invitational this season.

It is definitely not the tee box Cardle hoped to be driving from as he starts his second season as Wheaton’s head coach for both men’s and women’s golf, but he’s optimistic the team still has potential for a strong season.

“We have a great team, and the girls have such a great attitude going into the season,” said Cardle.

The team has also responded well to the changes. When asked about the upcoming season, junior Kylie Monson said, “It is a little stressful knowing that you have to play well each weekend because there’s only five of us, but we are all returning players and we don’t have the stress of competing for a spot on the team.”

While the psychology of the game has a large impact on each player’s performance, together they are handling the challenges as a team. Always the optimist, Monson explained the team can finally all fit into one car, which will lead to increased time for team bonding opportunities. With only one month until the CCIW tournament and the odds less in the team’s favor than normal, those bonding moments and a positive team outlook might make all the difference for the Thunder.

Wheaton’s season begins this weekend in Bristol Wisconsin against Carthage College at the Bristol Oaks Country Club.

Men’s golf

Billy Graham once said, “The only time my prayers are never answered is on the golf course.” But it is precisely in those tough moments that Wheaton’s second-year coach Tom Cardle looks to help his players distinguish themselves on the golf course.

“About 95 percent of the teams we play are not Christians, so the spotlight is always on us because people know that Wheaton students are Christians and have a community covenant,” Cardle said. “Our mission is to go out there and represent Christ through the good, but especially the bad when it can be easy to throw your clubs around or cheat to get a better lie.”

The main season for the men’s team is not until the spring, so Cardle is primarily focused on the women’s team who will compete in the CCIW tournament in five weeks. This does not mean the men are taking it easy this fall, though. Far from it, actually. Hoping for a top three finish in the CCIW tournament this spring, the three co-captains of the men’s team have stepped up and taken their team’s development quite seriously.
Senior co-captain Robby Bowles is embracing his new leadership role.

“It’s cool to be in this leadership position,” he explained. “I have looked up to the captains in the past, and I love that I get the chance to help lead this team in a new direction with my co-captains, senior Richard Moomjian and junior Adam Eaton.”

The Thunder hope to foster a culture of excellence this fall in order to handle the ups and downs of golf in a way that glorifies Christ and his Kingdom. Sophomore Drew Engelking who finished 16th at the CCIW Tournament last spring as a freshman is definitely doing his part. “He just gets how to practice and how to play, and he’s an example to every guy on the team,” Cardle said. “Drew will be exciting to watch this season.”

As players rise to the occasion, the Thunder are poised and ready to tee-off the 2016-2017 season this weekend at Olivet College’s “Lou Collins Memorial Tournament” at the Bedford Valley Country Club.

Women’s golf finishes 10th at TPC Deere Run

The Thunder participated in the 2nd Annual TPC Deere Run Women’s Intercollegiate Invitational held at TPC Deere Run, an award-winning golf course and home of the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic, on March 28 and 29.

Wheaton finished in 10th place among 15 teams, which included some of the top NAIA and NCAA DIII programs in the country. Junior Madeline Bond led the Thunder with a total score of 168 in two rounds, individually finishing in 25th place.

“I think the best part about playing golf is the camaraderie among competitors,” said Bond. “You start off the round with three complete strangers that you’re trying to beat, but you spend the next six hours with them playing an incredibly frustrating sport and you bond. In the end, you genuinely want them to do well.”

The Wheaton women’s golf team has been an encouraging, competitive, Christ-centered and lively group throughout the year. In the process, the team has continually embraced its motto, “Believe, build up and glorify.”

“This helps us to stay centered on God and represent him well to the girls we’re playing with,” explained sophomore golfer Kylie Monson.

She continued to describe some of the team’s entertaining traditions, recalling “getting gummy worms or ‘birdie worms’ every time we get a birdie, team sing-alongs on the bus, an Arizona spring break trip and maintaining the reputation as the mentally toughest and physically weakest team on campus.”

Bond also had high praise for her team. “My favorite part about my team is how well we get along. We all have completely different personalities and even though it’s a very small team and we spend a lot of time together, we all get along and are never short on laughs.”

The Thunder will be back in action on April 8 in Angola, Ind. for the Trine University Spring Classic.

Meet and greet in the heat

A three-time NL MVP and two-time World Series Champion stood in front of the men and women’s golf teams. He played a completely different sport, but hearing a devotional and receiving autographed gear from one of the best professional baseball players on the planet, otherwise known as Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels, made for the basis of a one-of-a-kind spring break trip for the men and women’s golf teams.

The Thunder golf teams travelled to Scottsdale, Ariz. for their annual spring break trip this year. Because head coach Tom Cardle is in charge of both teams, many of the activities were the same for both groups. The teams attempted to regain any form lost over the cold Wheaton winter as they practiced for four days before playing in a small tournament against other local teams.

The men’s team also completed an “escape room” together in which they had to figure out how to exit a team through the use of provided clues. Like the men’s tennis team, conversating within the hot tub was a hit, too.
“Spring break is where we all bond as a team,” explained junior Robby Bowles. “We really get to know the freshmen the best during this time.”

The women’s team had many of the same experiences, as well as an opportunity to volunteer at the Stars Ministry at Christ Church of the Valley. Essentially, the ministry is akin to a special needs sports camp. Paired with the opportunity to eat every meal together, the women’s team used their experiences to bond and grow closer, as well.

“A few times it was a challenge to figure some things out with the coaches since this is their first year,” junior Madeline Bond said. “However, they have been making the transition really easy, so it really wasn’t too serious of a problem in the end.”

Both teams will seek to channel Pujols’ inner “clutch-gene” this spring as they vie for their share of the men and women’s CCIW championship.

Men’s and Women’s Golf – 10/10/14

Men’s Golf

The men’s Golf team placed fifth in the Big Blue Fall Invitational in Decatur, Il. to wrap up their fall season. The Thunder went up against 11 other teams, with their score of 628 being beaten out by Milikin (587), Illinois Wesleyan (609), Webster (611) and Fontbonne (615). The Thunder’s top players had strong performances, with senior Matt Adams leading the Thunder with 153 strokes, followed closely by junior Bennett Hollar’s score of 154, as well as sophomore Robby Bowles who scored 155. The final scoring team member was sophomore Richard Moomjian, with 166 strokes over the two rounds played. Freshman Adam Eaton finished right behind Moomjian, ending his first collegiate season with a total score of 167.

Women’s Golf

The women’s golf team finished their fall season by placing fourth out of seven teams in the CCIW championships on Saturday, with a team score of 1055 over three rounds. The Thunder was beaten out by Carthage (1009), Illinois Wesleyan (1014) and North Central (1043). Sophomore Madeline Bond led the Thunder with a total of 255 strokes. Freshman Rachel Goranson finished with a score of 265, right ahead of senior Alexa Tyler and freshman Kylie Monson, who scored 266 and 277, respectively, finishing the scoring for the competition. Sophomore Madeline Bond earned all-conference honors after finishing sixth in the CCIW Championships.