FSU Eighth At 2009 NCAA Championships

The Bulldogs' Pat Steffes
The Bulldogs' Pat Steffes

The nationally-ranked 2008-09 Ferris State men's golf team will go down in the program's annals as one of the best after the Bulldogs posted a school-record tying eighth-place performance at the 2009 NCAA Division II Men's Golf Championships (May 19-22) at the Loomis Trail Golf Club course in Blaine, Wash.

Ferris State produced a final-round 298 score in Friday's (May 22) action for a four-round 1,196 team stroke total (303-294-301-298=1,196 - +60). The Bulldogs ended up one stroke in back of Indianapolis and California State-Stanislaus, which both tallied 1,195 scores (+59) to tie for sixth-place honors.

A pair of California teams, California State-San Bernardino (1,179 - +43) and Sonoma State (1,179 - +43) both concluded the regulation portion of the tournament tied for first place. In a sudden death playoff, Sonoma State came away victorious on the first playoff hole with an even par to CSU-San Bernardino's one-over par (16-to-17 strokes) and capture the 2009 national championship crown.

FSU's eighth-place national tourney showing equalled the program's highest as the Bulldogs earned the same placing three years in a row (1998, 1999, and 2000). Meanwhile, the 1,196 four-round score turned in by Ferris State represented the third-best stroke total at a national tournament in the program's history. The score trailed only the 2000 squad's 1,184 total and the 1999 team's 1,186 total.

Senior Kelbi Lee (Billings, Mont.) spearheaded the Bulldogs' noteworthy performance with a first-place tying 289 score (76-73-68-72=289, +5) in regulation. However, Lee would have to settle for individual medalist runner-up honors as a result of losing on the first playoff hole to Gavin Smith of Indiana (Pa.). Smith birdied on the initial playoff hole to defeat Lee after generating a 289 (76-69-70-74=289, +5) regulation score.

Joining Lee among the top 20-place finishers for FSU was junior Kurt Valley (Bay City/Western), who compiled a 20th-place tying 297-stroke total (74-75-78-70=297, +13).

Junior Eric Lilleboe (Okemos/Lansing Catholic Central) earned a share of 62nd place by firing a 307 (74-71-84-78=307, +23) while junior Pat Steffes (Fond du Lac, Wis./St. Mary's Spring) shot a 310 (79-75-75-81=310, +26) to place tied for 74th.

Senior Brian Janty (Madison, Wis./West) notched a 315-stroke total (80-77-80-78=315, +31), which tied him with two others for 85th-place honors.

The 2009 national tournament marked the 13th such appearance for Ferris State on the national stage and its first since the 2007 season.