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Men's Golf Team Battles Tough Conditions In 2006-07 Season

Coming into the 2006-07 season after finishing in the middle of the pack in the Mid-Continent Conference the previous season, Oaklandís menís golf team was optimistic that the Golden Grizzlies could challenge for a top spot at the conference tournament. With a roster that included three experienced seniors to lead them, the Golden Grizzlies finished in the top-five in five of the eight tournaments prior to the Mid-Con Tournament, winning two of those. Unfortunately for Oakland that success did not carry over to the conference tournament where the Golden Grizzlies finished sixth.

Freshman Frank McAuliffe led Oakland in stroke average and won one individual title in his first season.

Oakland opened the season at the John Piper Intercollegiate hosted by Bowling Green in September. In what turned out to be a rain-shortened event at the Stone Ridge Golf Club, the Golden Grizzlies improved their score by seven strokes from the first round, but were unable to move up in the final standings. OU finished with a team score of 621 after a final round of 307, placing the Golden Grizzlies in 11th in the final standings. Senior Rob Reynolds (Waterford, Mich.) and junior Nate Hendriks (Carlisle, Ontario) shared the best finish for the team, coming in tied for 33rd overall.

Starting off his three-rounds at the Butler Fall Invitational with a 68, the best round by any golfer at the tournament, freshman Frank McAuliffe (Ann Arbor, Mich.) went on to take individual honors in the second outing of the season for OU. He finished off the tournament with a 73 to win by one stroke with a total of 213. His efforts helped Oakland to its first team win of the season, with the Golden Grizzlies besting the field by 14 strokes with a team score of 876. For his efforts McAuliffe was awarded the Mid-Con Golfer of the Week award.

One of the top scores of the day lifted Oaklandís menís golf team up in the final standings at the Earl Yestingsmeier Invitational hosted by Ball State in October. The Golden Grizzlies turned in a final round of 290, the fourth-best score of the afternoon, to finish with an 872 and move into 10th-place in the final team standings in the 17-team field. Reynolds was the top finisher for Oakland after a round of 73 to close out his 54-hole scorecard. His tournament total of 215 was good for a tie for 19th overall.

Rain again plagued Oakland, with the wet stuff limiting the IPFW Fall Classic to just two rounds. Oakland wound up second, shooting scores of 283 and 287 to total 570 and tie with Loyola (Ill.) for second, ten shots behind leader Detroit. McAuliffe continued his strong play in the fall season, leading OU with a 141 (70-71) to tie for sixth overall.

Oakland started off its spring season on a solid note when the Golden Grizzlies took second-place among eight teams at the Butler Spring Invitational. McAuliffe continued his strong first year by placing second overall with a 146, finishing just two strokes off the pace at the Prestwick Golf Club.

Oaklandís second victory of the season came when the Golden Grizzlies shot a final round 298 to capture the title at the Bellarmine Invitational. Oaklandís final round gave it a final team score of 505 in the 36-hole event played at the Persimmon Ridge Golf Club, 11 strokes ahead of second-place Findlay College. Reynolds was the top individual finisher for OU, carding a 150 to finish in a four-way tie for fourth.

Playing on the same course in Shreveport, Louisiana where the Mid-Con Tournament would be played in three weeks, Oakland fired a final round of 300, the fifth-best score of the day, to give the Golden Grizzlies a final team total of 911 and a seventh-place finish in the 12-team event. Reynolds turned in the best round of the tournament for an OU golfer in the final round, carding a 69 that lifted him two spots to third in the final standings and earn Mid-Con Golfer of the Week recognition.

Senior Charles Kluesner had a pair of top-20 finishes for Oakland.

Despite shooting a higher second round score over its first round, Oakland managed to move up one spot in the final standings at the Wolfe Run Intercollegiate hosted by IUPUI. The Golden Grizzlies shot a 326 in the final round for a final total of 648, just two shots shy of a third-place finish. McAuliffe maintained a top-10 standing throughout the tournament, finishing in a tie for sixth with his 36-hole total of 158.

At the Mid-Con Tournament in Shreveport, Oakland had trouble finding consistent play from its squad, leading to a sixth-place finish after shooting a final round of 305. Senior Chad Elliott (Rochester, Mich.) had the best individual finish for the Golden Grizzlies, earning second team All-Mid-Con honors after tying for ninth in the final standings. Oakland finished the 54-hole tournament with a team score of 912 (304-303-305). Western Illinois won the team title with a score of 863.

Brutal spring weather of cold, rain and wind hampered Oakland from being able to find its rhythm in the spring season. Still, McAuliffe managed to turn in a fine season as a freshman, leading the team with a 74.82 stroke average for the season and picking up the squadís only individual victory of the season as well as the low round of the year with a 68. Reynolds capped off his career by finishing in the top-20 in seven of OUís nine events and posting a 75.41 average.

Seniors Elliott and Charles Kluesner (Terre Haute, Ind.) also finished with solid seasons, with Elliott posting a 76.67 average and three top-20 finishes. Kluesner was right behind Elliott with a 76.68 average and a pair of top-20 finishes.