Lions claim back-to-back MIAA men's golf championships

Apr. 17—The Missouri Southern men's golf team was in third place after Day 1, second place after Day 2, and outplayed Central Missouri by 12 strokes on the final day to claim the MIAA conference championship by five strokes on Wednesday at the Shoal Creek Golf Course in Kansas City.

The Lions trailed by seven strokes entering Day 3 and shot a 2-over 286 to complete the comeback and overcome tough weather conditions on Day 2 to take home the trophy for the second-consecutive year.

"Yesterday was extremely adverse. We'd never played in such wind," head coach Mike Wheeler said. "Today was a different day and the guys knew what they had to do and they went out and did (it)."

Wheeler announced his retirement about a month ago. Now he's ending his career with back-to-back conference titles. The Lions were also regular season champs both years.

"It's a little bit beyond belief right now to be able to accomplish that. It's an honor but we give all the credit to our players," Wheeler said. "That's exactly what we set out to do."

Luis Limon led the the team and finished first overall with a final score of 217 (4 over). Limon shot a 1-under 70 on the final day to help the Lions' Day 3 push.

Limon had four birdies and just three bogeys to pick up the below-par score.

"He's worked very diligently so this is a reward for him," Wheeler said.

Finishing tied for second was Ben Marckmann with a 7-over 220. Marckmann was tied with Central Missouri's Jack Hope and Northeastern State's Will Livermore.

Marckmann picked up three birdies and four bogeys with his 1-over round on Wednesday.

Holes 7, 13 and 15 were all birdied by Marckmann and Limon.

Hope led UCM to a second-place finish with a team total of 892, just five strokes behind MSSU's 887. Livermore and NSU finished third with a score of 897.

Southern had three individuals finish in the top 10. Tradgon McCrae took 10th place and shot an even par on the final day to finish with a total score of 11-over 224. McCrae tied for the fifth best round on Day 3 as Limon and three others shot one stroke better at 1-under on Wednesday.

McCrae birdied Holes 7 and 13 and shot bogey on No. 9 and 17.

Central Oklahoma's Jordan Wilson (221), Parker Rose (222) of NSU, Robbie Sager (222) of UCM, Missouri Western's Jeffery Johnston (223) and Washburn's Quinn Earwood (223) round out the top 10 in positions five through nine.

MSSU's team score of 286 was the best one-day performance topping MWSU's Day 1 score of 287 as well as UCM's Day 1 score of 288. NSU shot 288 on Day 3.

Dylan Bagley rounded out the team score for the Lions by finishing tied for 20th at 16-over 229. Josh Hamnett finished right behind him at 17-over.

MSSU competes next in a super regional tournament in Edmond, Oklahoma, at KickingBird Golf Course starting on Monday, April 29.

Limon was named the MIAA golfer of the year after the tournament concluded for leading in points from conference events at the end of the season. Limon, Marckmann and McCrae picked up all-MIAA recognition for finishing inside the top 15.