Ferris State Men's Golf Heads To National Championships On Heels Of Record-Breaking Round

Ben Cook
Ferris State advanced to the national championships after impressive round

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Big Rapids, Mich. - Following a record-breaking final round in regional action, the Ferris State University men's golf team will compete in the 2017 NCAA Division II Championships slated for next week, May 22-26, at Reunion Resort in Kissimmee, Fla.

The Bulldogs will be making their 15th all-time national championships appearance and first berth since 2010 after earning runner-up honors at the 2017 NCAA Midwest/Central Super Regional last week in Axtell, Neb.

Ferris State will be one of 20 teams from across the country competing in the national championships and the lone qualifier from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). The finals will be hosted by the Sunshine State Conference and the Central Florida Sports Commission.

At the National Championships, all 20 advancing teams and eight individuals will complete 54 holes of stroke play. Following 54 holes of stroke play, an individual champion will be declared along with finishers 2-10 based on cumulative total score and any applicable tiebreakers. The top eight teams after 54 holes of play will be placed into a bracket and seeded based on 54-hole scores for the medal/match play portion of the competition to determine the team champion.

FSU will be joined at the national championships by Dominican (NY), St. Thomas Aquinas, Charleston (W.Va.), LeMoyne, Central Missouri, Lindenwood (Mo.), Arkansas Tech, West Florida, Florida Southern, Lynn (Fla.), Florida Tech, Barry (Fla.), Newberry (S.C.), North Alabama, Cal-Baptist, Stanislaus State, Cal-State East Bay, Western Washington and Cal-State Monterey Bay.

The Bulldogs will play their practice round on Sunday at Reunion Resort before competition begins on Monday morning. The 54-hole stroke play portion of the event runs thru Wednesday with the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds of the Medal/Match competition for those advancing teams taking place on Thursday. The final round of the team competition takes place on Friday. 

The championships will be contested on the Watson Course at Reunion Resort, which measures 7,054 yards. Designed by Tom Watson, the Orlando area course is highlighted by fast, firm and wide rolling fairways, strategically placed bunkers and large greens. It was named as of the Golfweek's 2017 Best Resort Courses.

Ferris State's current 15-year NCAA Championship appearance streak in men's golf ranks as one of the longest active stretches in the country. FSU recorded a school-record seventh-place finish in its last trip to the national championships in 2010.

The Bulldogs advanced to the championships following a record-breaking final round at the NCAA Midwest/Central Super Regional on May 10 at Awarii Dunes Golf Course in Nebraska. The Bulldogs shot an 18-under par 270 score in the third and final round of the 54-hole tournament. Ferris State moved up six spots on the final day with an impressive round in the 20-team event. 

In the final round at super regionals, the Bulldogs racked up 25 birdies or eagles in a historic round of competition. FSU's 270 figure was the best of any of the 20 competing teams over any of the three rounds of competition and also broke the course record.

All five Ferris State golfers shot under par over the final 18 holes of action with senior Ben Cook firing an impressive eight-under 64 total to finish tied for seventh in the field. Cook's highlights also included an ace on the par three, fifth hole in the last round.

FSU's 270 final round broke the previous school record score of 274 set by the Bulldogs in their own Ferris State Invitational at Katke Golf Course in 2001. Ferris State's 836 team total (-28) for the 54 holes also topped the 837 figure recorded in 2009 at the Saginaw Valley State Al Watrous Memorial Invite in Bay City.

Along with notching the best team score of all 20 teams over any of the three rounds of action, Ferris State also led the super regional in par 4 scoring (-13) and racked up a tournament-best 65 birdies over the 54 holes. Individually, FSU's Andrew Hammett finished fourth on the par 4's at -7 overall with Ben Cook fourth in par 5 scoring (-8).

Finally, Cook's 64 figure in the final round represents the best individual 18-hole score in school history, topping the previous mark of 65 set by John Hagemeier in 1997 and matched by Jim Lusk in 1998 along with Eric Lilleboe in 2009. His 206 finish for the 54 holes also was near school-record, which Lilleboe set in 2009 at the SVSU Al Watrous Memorial Invite with a 202 total.