TPC Deer Run
The Event...Northwestern College opens play at the 2017 NAIA Men's Golf National Championship this week at the TPC Deere Run golf course near Silvis, Ill. The Red Raiders will hit the course on Tuesday for the afternoon session, beginning at 12:50pm, along with golfers from Grand View (Iowa) and Lewis-Clark State (Idaho).
About the Championship...
Northwestern is one 29 teams that comprise the 2017 Championship Field; 21 automatic qualifiers that either won or finished runner-up in their respective conferences and eight at-large bids based on the final coaches' poll.
The field consists of 156 players, from the 29 teams along with 11 individual qualifiers.
The second round will be played on Wednesday, May 17, followed by the third round on Thursday. Pairings for the third round are based on the order of finish and will be announced late Wednesday night. The top 17 teams and any player in the top 40 individually make the cut and will play in Friday's final round.
Northwestern, along with Lewis-Clark State and Grand View, will play in the morning session for Wednesday's second round beginning at 8:20am.
Competition is stroke play and each team competes with five golfers (minimum of four) and the top four scores posted each day are counted toward the team standings.
This is the second year that the TPC Deere Run has served as the host course in the 66th year of the men's golf championship.
Northwestern Notes...The Red Raiders won their third consecutive conference title to secure the GPAC's lone automatic bid into the NAIA Championship. Northwestern is the only team from the conference in the 29-team field while Corey Matthey (Morningside) also represents the conference as an individual. They won the conference title by nine strokes over the Mustangs.
Northwestern is playing in its third straight and seventh overall NAIA championship, also qualifying in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016. They did not make the final cut as a team in 1981, 1998, 2012, 2015 and 2016 but earned a spot on the final day in 2013 where they finished 17th. Colton Kooima made the final cut as an individual last year, finishing tied for 28th overall, the second best finish by a Red Raider in program history.
Aaron Aberson is in his seventh season as the Red Raiders head coach, guiding teams to five GPAC Championships and five bids into the NAIA Championship. Aberson earned GPAC coach of the year honors for the fifth time this season.
Northwestern has a scoring of 301 and four first place finishes this season, winning the Siouxland, Midland, Briar Cliff and GPAC events. They also placed second at the Mount Marty Invite.
Justin Kraft leads the Red Raiders with a 74.6 scoring average, winning two events to go with four top-10 finishes. Evan Schuler is second on the team with a 74.9 average and placed in the top five in five events. Playing just the spring season, Colton Kooima has a 75.3 scoring average and one top-10 finish. Austin Reitz won an event and finished in the top 10 four times to go with his 76.4 scoring average. Ryan Christy has a 77.1 average and one top 10 finish. All five NW golfers earned all-conference honors.
Senior from Orange City, Iowa
Junior from Lake View, Iowa
Junior from Atlantic, Iowa
Sophomore from Onawa, Iowa
Junior from Sioux Falls, S.D.