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Owls are NCAC champs for second time in three years

WESTFIELD CENTER, Ohio — For the second time in the last three seasons, the Kenyon College men’s golf team is the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Champion. The Owls completed the three-day, three-round 2024 Championship on Sunday at Westfield Country Club with a winning team total of 845.

That total was six strokes better than second-place Wittenberg University (851), last year’s conference champion and the favorite to win this year’s title, according to the NCAC pre-Championship coaches poll. DePauw University finished third at 861 and Wabash College finished fourth at 867 in the eight-team field.

Kenyon’s team total was a program record for stroke count in a 54-hole tournament. The previous record was 875 set at the BSN Fall Invitational at Chapel Hill Golf Course in the 2016-17 season. In relation to par, the Owls’ final total of five-over was also a program record, erasing the old mark of 11-over, also set at the BSN Fall Invitational in 2016-17.

Most importantly, however, the team’s total ensured an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Championship, which will be held May 14-17 at Boulder Creek Golf Club in Boulder City, Nevada.

In Sunday’s final round, first-year Jaiden Koonar led the way, firing a one-under-par 69 with five birdies and four bogeys. Overall, for the entire three rounds, Koonar was also the top finisher for Kenyon. His three-day tally of one-under-par 209 placed him second on the individual leaderboard and left him just one stroke short of tying the Kenyon record of 208 for a 54-hole tournament. 

Kenyon’s other Sunday scores included a one-over-par 71 from senior Garrett Thesing, a two-over-par 72 from junior Armand Ouellette and three-over-par 73s from both first-year Jonathan Oakes and sophomore Will Hulsey.

On the final, three-round individual leaderboard, Hulsey followed up Koonar’s second-place finish by tying for fourth place with a score of one-over-par 211. Thesing claimed sole possession of sixth place with a two-over 212 and Ouellette rounded out Kenyon’s top-10 finishers in a tie for seventh place with a three-over 213. Oakes was just outside the top-10, taking a share of 13th place with a 218 in the 40-man field.

At the conclusion of the tournament, awards were handed out and Oakes was named the NCAC Newcomer of the Year. Additionally, the leader of the Kenyon club, Grant Wallace was named NCAC Coach of the Year. All-NCAC awards went to Koonar and Hulsey, who collected first-team honors, Thesing and Ouellette, who made the second team, and Oakes, who earned a spot on the third team.

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