AU Men Look To Keep Winning Ways Going At GLIACs

AU Men Look To Keep Winning Ways Going At GLIACs


Logan Cooke knows the situation.

Ashland University's head men's golf coach is aware that despite his Eagles winning the last two tournaments they've played in, the only way they will advance to the NCAA Division II postseason is by winning the 54-hole 2018 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships, Friday-Sunday (April 20-22) at The Virtues Golf Club in Nashport, Ohio.

"My guys aren't used to this feeling of being able to complete two days and finish out a tournament," Cooke said. "They're in great spirits going into the conference tournament, and that's what we wanted."

Ashland has played just six rounds of golf this spring prior to the conference championships, but the Eagles won the 10-team Ohio Valley University Spring Championship and the eight-team Bill Blazer Memorial, hosted by Ohio Dominican.

All five of Ashland's top golfers have taken turns firing low scores. The leader has been junior Austin Kondratick, who won the OVU tournament and is averaging a round of 75 in the spring portion of 2017-18.

"AK had a bad week last week for him," Cooke said of Kondratick's 81-78 last weekend. "It's all right. It happens. The other guys did what they needed to and lifted him up, after AK lifting them up for so long. We don't need our No. 1 man to shoot under par every round to be in contention.

"It was good confidence for everybody. It was nice for AK to see the other guys are there for him, and it was nice for the other guys to lift him up."

Freshman Ben Jones has taken his game to a higher level of late, earning medalist honors at the ODU tourney, finishing third at OVU and carding an average spring round of 75.33.

"He's a really good player, and a good kid on top of it," said Cooke. "He has a ton of talent. You can't tell if he's a senior out there, or a freshman. You wouldn't be able to tell by watching him.

"It was nice to see it get done last week, going into such a big tournament. I believe the course we're playing sets up nice for him. I'm excited for him."

Senior Chandler Walnsch has placed second in each of the last two events, and his spring average round is at 76.67.

"He should be going in hungry," Cooke said. "It's biting at him to get out there and stay in the moment, be patient and let the good things happen. He's a senior. He knows his way around a course."

Sophomore Patrick Steffen has a pair of top-15 finishes this spring, with an average round of 77.5, while junior Cole Smith placed in the top five at Ohio Valley and has an average this spring of 79.33.

Ashland's average team score of 303.67 in six spring rounds is slightly higher than its 300.2 average in 11 fall rounds.