Battle Creek, Mich. – The Calvin men's golf captured the MIAA Championship on Saturday, capping off its record-breaking fall season.
The Knights held an eight-stroke-lead after the first day of the MIAA Fall Tournament on Friday. On Saturday morning, the course at Battle Creek Country Club was deemed unplayable, and Calvin was declared the MIAA champion.
The championship is the third MIAA title in Calvin men's golf history, joining the titles won in 2010 and 2012. Hope had won the last four MIAA regular season titles.
As the 2017 MIAA regular season champion, Calvin will host two of the three rounds of the four-team MIAA Spring Tournament next April which determines the league's automatic qualifier to the 2018 NCAA III Championships in May.
The Knights' finish their fall season boasting an average of 290.3, setting a new MIAA men's golf record.
The standout senior duo of Ben VanScoyk (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) and John Van Noord (Troy, Mich./Oakland Christian) both had record-breaking individual seasons for Calvin. VanScoyk slated a season average 71.4, including a 71.8 average in MIAA play. Van Noord averaged 71.6 overall, also finishing with a 71.8 conference average.
The Knights were solid all season, claiming at least a share of first place in all four MIAA Jamborees. Calvin finished in second at the first day of the MIAA Fall Tournament, just two strokes behind Hope.
Van Noord and freshman Sam Holland (Novi, Mich/Detroit Catholic Central HS) both earned MIAA Men's Golfer of the Week honors. After shooting a 69 to finish first at the third MIAA Jamboree, Van Noord landed the spot on the week of October 2. The following week, Holland also fired a 69 to earn medalist honors at the fourth MIAA Jamboree.
In non-conference play, the Knights placed third at the Tim Kopka Memorial Tournament where Van Scoyk shot a team-best 71-70-141, finishing just one stroke behind medalist honors.
CALVIN MEN'S GOLF COACH BRIAN BOLT ON THE MIAA CHAMPIONSHIP
On the Team Accomplishment
"As a team, we are very gratified winning the MIAA this fall. We knew the competition would be elite, since Hope was returning a team ranked nationally in the top 10, and that we would have to raise the bar and lower our scores to a level they have never been. We ended the season shooting 290.6 for our MIAA average, a Calvin record, and the lowest recorded scoring average in MIAA history. This was truly an amazing competitive accomplishment. Even then, it earned only a narrow margin of victory."
"The team worked very well together. The seniors have poured a lot of energy into the team since arriving on campus as freshman, but always came up just a bit short in league play. I'm so happy they have won a championship. John Van Noord and Ben VanScoyk finished the league year with the exact same scoring average of 71.8, which is appropriate, because for four years there has been no difference between them. They have been equally excellent. This year they rose to what seemed like an insurmountable challenge. Statistically, John and Ben are far and away the two best golfers Calvin has ever had. It's appropriate they led the effort for a championship and historic MIAA season. Together with fellow senior Matthew Lumbantoruan who played mostly as an alternate and still finished in the top 20 in the league, the have made their mark on this team."
Juniors Stepping Up
"Juniors Sam Kuiper and Alec DeJonge also had very strong seasons. Sam finished 2nd team all-league for the second year in row and has been very reliable this year, becoming a player we depend on every time out. This was Alec's first season as a junior in the regular line up. For four of his tourneys he never shot over 74, showing his talent and ability to step up in big situations."
First Year Contribution
"Freshman Sam Holland had some ups and downs, but he turned in the lowest round of the year at a very important point. He shot 69 at Kalamazoo Country Club on a day when the rest of the team struggled. That performance was a vital piece of the championship run. Sam finished with 2nd team All-MIAA honors and has a bright future with the team."
"Junior Mitchell Knoor got off to a bit of a slow start, but he has rallied the rest of the team, which includes freshman Robert Lang, Ben Byker, and Josh Lansky. All of these guys played important roles in team development through the fall season, and we look for them to continue to develop and contribute into the spring."
"We are still a bit shocked at the numbers we were able to shoot as a team this fall. We have been helped along the way with excellent assistant coaches in Jon Kuiper and Clark Klassen who have brought a new level of expertise and commitment to the team. The league had some excellent players, and we were able to use that as motivation to continue to expect more of ourselves on and off the course. Like every year, this is a great group of guys, but this accomplishment will stand out as special in the history of Calvin golf."