The Lawrence University golf team was in the perfect position to win its first MWC championship since 1949, and then the rains came. The rain did, however, allow freshman Jeff Henderson to tie for the individual title.Henderson shot a six over par 78 in the first round of the Midwest Conference championships held at Aldeen Golf Club in Rockford, Illinois. After the first round, Henderson was tied with Jared Baszler of Grinnell for first place.
The second round of the tournament was canceled, however, after an all-day rain on Saturday. The event was shortened to one round, and Henderson and Baszler were named co-champions.
Henderson is the first individual champion for the Vikings since 1993, when Dave Schacht won for LU. Schacht was the last individual champion, not Don Strutz in 1949 as was reported in last week’s issue.
Henderson won four titles in his freshman season, and will be a threat to capture the MWC crown for the next three years.
The Vikings had many other individuals perform well in the first round. Travis Orth and Brion Winters were also both named to the all-conference team after finishing in a tie for eighth with 82.
The fourth member of the Vikings team, Will Sampson, shot an 88, which was good enough for a tie for 28th.
The team was in a perfect position after the first round but never got the chance to shoot for its first title since 1949. The Vikings shot 330, only three shots back of Monmouth after the first round. Eight-time defending champion Knox was in second with 329.
The Vikings knew only three shots separated them from the lead, but they never got a chance to get out on Saturday. The second round was rained out, and Monmouth was declared the champion.
The Vikings’ third place finish is their highest since 1982 when LU tied for third. This marks two of the last three years that Lawrence has finished in the top four teams at the MWC Tournament.
With everyone but Winters returning next year, the LU golf team will be favored to be near the top of the Northern Division again, and Henderson will be one of the early favorites to win the Conference Tournament next spring.