For the first time in program history, the North Dakota State golf team captured the Summit League Championship in dramatic fashion. Tied at the top with Denver entering the final day, the top four Bison went through the final nine holes a combined three-under to take the crown.
It was a team effort, and the first 18 holes underlined that fact for NDSU. All five Bison shot either a 73 or 75 at the Sand Creek Station Golf Course in Newton, KS.
Nick Myhre took the advantage of the par 5 fourth, which was played as the easiest hole on the course in the opening round. The senior carded a three for the eagle, one of just three the whole tournament.
The eagle was part of a one-over-par 73 for Myhre, who came into the clubhouse tied with Will Holmgren.
Lucas Johnson, Van Holmgren and Andrew Israelson all finished round one two shots further back as the Bison sat second in the team standings, two back from Denver.
Scoring increased across the board on Monday for the second round. Israelson took advantage to jump up the leaderboard.
The sophomore shot the lowest score of the day with a one-over 73. Birdies at No. 11 and No. 15 helped Israelson finish the round with a one-under back nine and move into a tie for third individually.
Van Holmgren carded a 76 to join Israelson in the 70s. Johnson, Myhre and Will Holmgren shot 81, 82 and 83 respectively.
NDSU finished with a team score of 312 to pull even with Denver at 608 after 36 holes.
In the final round, it was the Pioneers who got off the hot start. Denver’s Jake Kelley carded four birdies to give the Pioneers a lead at the turn.
But the Bison didn’t falter, lead by the steady game of Israelson. The Staples, MN native carded 17 pars in the final group of the day. The only non-par came on No. 12 with a birdie to finish the tournament with a 71. A three-round total of 219 were enough for Israelson to finish runner-up to Fort Wayne’s Zach Schroeder in the individual standings.
The other Bison came in with strong scores. Van and Will Holmgren both finished with a one-under 35 on the back nine. Van finished the round with an even-par 72 to come in sixth. Will’s 71, along with Johnson’s same score led to the pair finished in a tie for tenth.
But NDSU needed some luck to claim the title, and it was the final hole that provided the drama.
Denver played the par 4 in a combined seven-over par. The hole provided a six-stroke swing in the Bison’s favor as NDSU combined for a one-over par score on the third hardest hole of the day.
NDSU finished with a three-round total of 893, two shots better than Denver to claim the title.
The Bison advance as a team to the NCAA Men’s Regional Championships for the first time. The selection took place Wednesday night after press time. The regionals take place May 14-16 in Raleigh, NC, Bryan, TX, Columbus, OH, Kissimmee, FL, Norman, OK and Stockton, CA.