OU Falls Short of Mid-Con Goals; Completes Successful Season
The Oakland University mens golf team added another solid season to its Division I resume in the 2001-2002 season. The Golden Grizzlies recorded a first-place finish at the Beu/Mussatto Classic, a second-place finish at the Bay Valley Intercollegiate, and also finished third at the Holiday Inn Colonial Golf Classic. OU capped its season placing fourth at the Mid-Continent Conference Championship. Senior Kevin Harris(Troy/Troy HS) posted an average of 75.0 to lead the team, while sophomore Ryan Yelen (Grand Blanc/Goodrich HS) followed close behind recording an average of 75.5.
Oakland opened the 2001-02 season on September 10th at the EDS/Detroit Titans Invitational. The team took home a ninth-place finish. The tournament (par 72, 6,513 yards) was played at the Arbor Hills Country Club in Jackson. Oakland recorded a three-round 887 (295-288-304), while the tournament champions Wisconsin-Green Bay shot 860 (287-282-291). UWGB's Brian Berggren won the individual title after shooting a nine-under par 207 (67-70-70). Leading the way for the Golden Grizzlies was junior Allen Mitchell (Clio/Clio HS) who finished in a tie for 22nd after shooting a three-round 220 (75-71-74). Harris finished in a tie for 28th with teammate Chris King (Walled Lake/Western HS) both shooting 221. Rounding off the five scorers for OU were Justin Sokol (Bloomfield Hills/Brother Rice HS) who was tied for 41st and Ian Hodges (Calumet/Calumet HS) who finished tied for 61st.
Next the Grizzlies were off to Indianapolis, Indiana to compete in the Butler Fall Invitational. The OU men's golf team finished the first 36 holes at the par 70, 6,568-yard Eagle Creek Golf Course on September 24 in sixth place after shooting 303-298--601. Leading the way for OU was Sokol with a 146 (72-74). Following Sokol for the Golden Grizzlies is Mitchell (80-72--152) in a tie for 26th place and Harris (76-77--153) and King (75-78--153) in a tie for 32nd. Yelen rounded off the OU five in a tie for 55th after shooting 82-75--157. After the first day of play Northern Iowa holds the team lead shooting 291-293--584. Marc Cahalan of Northern Iowa holds the lead individually with his one over par 141 (70-71).
Oakland resumed play at the Butler Fall Invitational Tuesday morning. The Golden Grizzlies finished the 54-hole event with a seventh-place finish. Northern Iowa won the team title recording a 54-hole total of 882 and NIU's Alex Bair claimed the individual championship shooting 70-75-70--215. The Golden Grizzlies posted a 904 in the three-round event. King and Sokol led the Golden Grizzlies as they both tied for 14th place overall. King finished strong with a 71 on Tuesday for the three-round 224 (75-78-71). Sokol, who led the Golden Grizzlies after the first 36 holes, finished with a 78 for the 224 final score. Sokol shot 72-74 in Monday's play. Harris followed in a tie for 23rd (76-77-74--227), while Mitchell finished in a tie for 45th overall (80-72-80--232). Yelen was the fifth OU golfer and he finished in a tie for 61st overall (82-75-81--238).
The Grizzlies next challenge would come in the form of the Bay Valley Intercollegiate Golf Tournament. The Oakland University men's golf team finished second. The tournament, Saturday and Sunday, September 29-30, was played at the par 72, 6,666-yard Bay Valley Golf Course in Bay City, Michigan. The Golden Grizzlies, with their 300-291--591, finished second behind Ferris State (291-290--581). FSU's Mitch Flemming and Tyler Averdick tied for the individual title after shooting 142s through 36 holes. Leading the way for OU was King who finished in a tie for fourth place after shooting 74-72--146. Yelen and Brian Stuard (Jackson/Napoleon HS) also finished in the top 20 with two-day totals of 147. Both shot 75 on Saturday and 72 on Sunday. Rounding off OU's five were sophomore Matt Pullen (Grand Rapids/Thornapple-Kellogs HS) in a tie for 22nd (76-76--152) and Harris in a tie for 29th (79-75--154).
Next the Oakland University men's golf team competed at the Seventh Annual Holiday Inn Colonial Golf Classic in Moon Township, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, October 16. The tournament was played on the par 72, 6,502-yard Montour Heights Country Club golf course.
The Golden Grizzlies and Clarion tied for third place with the two-day total of 628 each. Charleston and host Robert Morris tied for the title both shooting 622s in the two days of play. Stuard led the way for Oakland finishing second overall with a two-day 151 (72-79). King followed with a fifth-place tie after shooting 76-77--153 and Sokol rounded off OU's top 10 with a 10th-place finish (75-81--156). Mitchell finished 50th overall after shooting 86-83--169 and junior Josh Bauer (Waterford/Mott HS) rounded off OU's top five with a two-day 174 (85-89) and a tie for 60th place.
The Golden Grizzlies wrapped up the 2001 fall season October 22-23 at the Bowling Green Invitational in Bowling Green, Ohio. The Piper Intercollegiate is being played at the par 72, 6,920-yard Stone Ridge Golf Course in Bowling Green. The Golden Grizzlies recorded a 594 through 36 holes in the opening day of the tournament. Bowling Green hold the team lead after shooting 582 and Loyola Chicago (583), Wright State (584) and Youngstown State (585) follow in second, third and fourth places, respectively, heading into the final day. The final round of the Piper Intercollegiate was played on Tuesday, October 23. The Oakland University men's golf team finished sixth. This tournament marked the final for the Golden Grizzlies this fall. Oakland recorded a 308 in the final day of play for a three-round 902 (296-298-308) and the sixth-place finish. Host Bowling Green won the team title at 882 and Wright State (887), Youngstown State (890), Loyola Chicago (899) and Butler (901) followed in second through fifth places, respectively. The Golden Grizzlies finished in front of Wisconsin-Green Bay (904), Detroit (906), Cleveland State (907), Dayton (932) and Marquette (935). Leading the way for the Golden Grizzlies was Kevin Harris who shot 77 in the final round for the three-round 222 (70-75-77). Harris finished in a tie for 13th place. Ryan Yelen finished 28th after shooting 74 in Tuesday's round. Yelen finished 11-over-par for the two days (79-74-74--227). Stuard claimed 30th place individually after shooting 72-79-77--228. King and Sokol rounded off OU's top five in 37th and 41st places, respectively. King and Sokol both recorded 80s in Tuesday's round. King finished with a 231 (75-76-80) and Sokol recorded a three-round 233 (80-73-80). Playing individually for the Golden Grizzlies was Matt Pullen who finished in a for 49th place overall. Pullen shot 236 (79-77-80) in the 54-hole tournament.
OU opened up the 2002 spring season with a fifth-place finish at the Mercer Invitational February 25-26 in Macon, Georgia. The 36-hole event was played at the par 72, 6,714-yard Healy Point Country Club. Tennessee Tech University claimed the team title recording a 36-hole total 605 and High Point University boasted the individual champion Andrew Smith who shot 75-68-143. The Golden Grizzlies posted a 636 in the two-round event. Harris led the Golden Grizzlies while placing 17th overall shooting 80-78--158. Stuard finished in a three-way tie for 21st place with a 77-82-159. Yelen rounded out the top three performances for Oakland finishing in 24th place 83-77-160. Mitchell tied for 25th place (80-81-161) and King finished 27th (82-81-163).
The Golden Grizzlies next competition was at the Sam Houston State Bearkat Classic in Montgomery, Texas March 18-19. The OU men's golf team finished 10th. The event consisted of 54 holes at the par 72, 6,992 yard Bentwater Golf Club. Arkansas-Little Rock finished first as a team with a 54 hole total of 867. Yasin Ali of Oklahoma City won the individual title shooting 69-70-71--210. The Golden Grizzlies team totaled a score of 911 in the event. Stuard led the Golden Grizzlies finishing in a six-way tie for 29th shooting 74-75-77--226. Yelen shot 78-75-77--230 to earn a four-way tie for 40th. Following close behind was Harris who tied for 44th with a score of 74-76-81--231, rounding out the Oakland golfers were King who finished tied for 48th(72-76-84--232) and Mitchell who placed tied for 56th (79-79-76--234).
The Oakland University men's golf team finished in a tie for fourth on Tuesday, April 9, at the Hal Sutton Intercollegiate Golf Tournament in Bossier City, Louisiana. The tournament was hosted by Centenary College and it was played at Olde Oaks Golf Course (par 72, 6,774 yards).
Oakland shot 291 in the weather shortened 18-hole tournament and finished behind Oklahoma Christian (281), Louisiana Tech (284) and Nicholls State (287). Following the Golden Grizzlies were Centenary College I (300) and II (309) and Louisiana Tech II (313). Leading the way for Oakland was captain Kevin Harris who finished in a tie for fourth place individually after shooting a two-under par 70. Yelen followed for the Golden Grizzlies in a tie for 12th place shooting a 72. Mitchell finished in a tie for 18th (73), while Stuard and King tied for 25th after recording 76s.
Next up for the Golden Grizzlies was the Beu/Mussatto Invitational on April 12-13 in Macomb, Illinois. The OU men's golf team captured the team title after a three-round 890. The tournament was hosted by Western Illinois University and was played at the par 72, 6,862-yard Harry Mussatto Golf Course. The Golden Grizzlies finished ahead of three Mid-Continent Conference opponents in the victory. Oakland shot 301-288-301 for the three-round 890. IUPUI followed at 897 (298-292--307), while UMKC shot 904 (308-297-299) and Western Illinois 906 (306-295-305). Oakland's 288 in the second round tied a season low in 2001-02. OU also shot a 288 in the second round of the EDS/Detroit Titan Invitational. Leading the way for the Golden Grizzlies was Ryan Yelen who finished third overall after recording 75-71-72--218. Stuard finished in a tie for sixth place after shooting a three-round 222 (71-75-76). Rounding off the scoring five for Oakland were Mitchell in 10th (77-69-79--225), King in a tie for 13th (78-73-76--227) and Pullen in a tie for 38th place (85-77-77--239).
The last stop on the schedule in 2001-2002 for the Golden Grizzlies was the Mid-Continent Conference Championship. With one day and two rounds of the 2002 Mid-Continent Conference Mens Golf Championship complete, it appeared as though the league could witness one of the tightest finishes in conference history. After the first 18 holes, all six teams were within six shots of the lead. IUPUIs Chad Stoute sat in a tie for the lead after two rounds with a three-under par 141 (70-71). The Jaguar depth showed on day one, as four IUPUI golfers finished within the top 12 spots. Two UMKC golfers - Chris Ichelson (142) and Matt Willmott (143) - helped the Kangaroos to second place by finishing the first day within two shots of the lead. Oral Roberts, which has won four straight Mid-Con Tournaments, was led by Hamilton Wheeler, who tied for the lead (72-69). The final round of the tournament was held at The Palms Golf Course in Mesquite, Nevada. The Golden Grizzlies men's golf team wrapped up their 2001-02 season at the Mid-Continent Conference Championship. The team claimed fourth place out of six competitors. Oakland's Harris and Yelen were tabbed with second team honors. In the mens tournament, IUPUI snapped Oral Roberts four-year reign, as it topped second-place UMKC by ten strokes to win its first-ever Mid-Con Mens Golf crown. The IUPUI men earned a berth to the NCAA Regional with their conference title.
Yelen recorded the lowest total for OU (72-71-75218) placing ninth, fellow tournament second-teamer Harris followed close behind with a 10th place finish (73-76-70219). King finished tied for 15th (73-74-74221), while Stuard (73-76-75224) and Mitchell (70-75-79224) both placed in a tie for 20th.
Even though the Golden Grizzlies fell short of their goal of winning the Mid-Continent Conference title this season, its difficult to overlook the bright future that lies ahead for the Oakland mens golf program. Both Yelen and Stuard played exceptionally well and stepped up for the Grizzlies this season. Yelen led the team in two tournaments including the Mid-Con Championship, while finishing second on the team with an average of 75.5. Stuard finished third on the team with an average of 75.6, and led OU in three tournaments in his first year of college golf.