KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has officially released the first and second round pairings for the 2017 NAIA Men's Golf National Championships at TPC Deere Run in Silvia, Ill. The 66th annual event will take place May 16-19 with the Madonna University men's golf team teeing off on hole No. 1 at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16.
The Crusaders earned a bid into the 32-team, 156-player field by winning the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference tournament on a playoff hole over then seventh-ranked University of Northwestern Ohio who missed an at-large bid to the tournament by one spot.
Madonna received votes in the final NAIA Men's Golf Coaches' Top 25 Poll and will be paired will No. 17 Point (Ga.) and Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) in the first two rounds of the event. Point earned their way to the championship as the Appalachian Athletic Conference tournament champion while Embry-Riddle won the California Pacific Conference tournament.
The three teams will begin on the first tee at 1 p.m. with the last of the five golfers teeing off at 1:40 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16. In round two, the trio will begin on hole No. 10 beginning at 8:30 a.m. with the final golfer going off at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 17.
This is the fourth team appearance and fifth time the Madonna Crusaders will be represented at the championship. The highest team finish came in 2012 when the Blue and Gold placed 17th. The last time the Crusaders made the trip to the national tournament was in 2014 when they placed 28th.
Justin Pahl (JR/White Lake, Mich.), the WHAC Golfer of the Year and Individual Medalist leads Madonna. Pahl averaged 72.1 strokes per round with a low of 66. Eight of his 19 rounds were at or under par. He won five of the 12 events in which he took part with five top five and nine top-10 finishes. Marc Hebert (SR/Shelby Township, Mich.), John Tatti (JR/Canton, Mich.), Michael Gaulin (SR/Shelby Township, Mich.) and Connor Humitz (SR/Livonia, Mich.) round to the five-player team.
Hebert averaged 74.5 strokes over his 21 rounds with five rounds at or under par. His low round is a 69. Tatti posted an average of 74.8 over 21 rounds with three par or under rounds and a low of 69. Gaulin's low is 67 with a 74.9 stroke average over his 21 rounds while Humitz averaged 79.3 stroke sin 12 rounds with a low of 72.
The Crusaders' four-player team averages 294 strokes per round over 21 rounds with a 54-hole best of 852 and a low round of 279.
The 156-player field consists of 21 automatic qualifying teams, which won or finished runner-up in their respective conference, independent or unaffiliated group tournament, 11 at-large berths and eight individual qualifiers.
At-large teams were determined using the final regular-season Coaches' Top 25 Poll.
The competition includes seven teams that finished in the top 10 at last year's championships: Oklahoma City (No. 1), British Columbia (No. 2), William Woods (Mo.) (No. 3), Texas Wesleyan (No. 4), Johnson & Wales (Fla.) (No. 5), Wayland Baptist (Texas) (No. 6) and USC Beaufort (S.C.) (No. 8).
For more information on the 2017 NAIA Men's Golf National Championships, click here.
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