Missouri State earns 60 points in pre-championship coaches’ poll
ST LOUIS – Missouri State has been picked to finish third in the 2015 Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Golf Championship in a pre-championship poll, announced on Wednesday.
The Bears earned 60 points in the poll, which was voted on by league head coaches. Wichita State received 81 points and all nine first-place votes as the favorite to repeat as Valley champion. Illinois State was picked second with 72 points, while Bradley (49 points) and Southern Illinois (42) round out the top five.
Northern Iowa claimed the sixth spot with 32 points with Drake and Evansville tying for seventh with 30. Loyola received nine points in ninth place.
Tournament-host Missouri State enters the championship fourth in the conference with a 298.32 average in 25 rounds and 10 tournaments this season. The Bears boast five golfers in the top 30 in scoring average in the league, led by Junior Joey Johnson, who is fifth overall at 74.20 in all 25 rounds this season.
The Shockers have been the league’s most dominant program for nearly two decades, finishing first or second (with 13 titles) in each of the last 18 seasons. Wichita State has won the league championship 13 of the last 16 seasons, including seven straight times. Illinois State is the only other Valley men’s golf team to earn a title since the Shockers’ championship run began in 1999, as the Redbirds claimed team victories in 2002, 2005 and 2007.
The 54-hole event is set for The Club at Porto Cima, in Sunrise Beach, Mo., on April 27–28. Porto Cima is a Jack-Nicklaus-designed facility that opened in 2000 and has hosted several Missouri Golf Association Championships, the annual Missouri Intercollegiate and the 2011 Men’s MVC Championship. Recently Golf Digest recognized Porto Cima as the one of the best private golf courses in America.