KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC Men’s Golf team is geared up to defend its Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championship and repeat at the Oakbrook Golf Course in Lakewood, Wash. The 2019 edition of the league championship runs from Saturday through Monday. The Roos have won two of the last three WAC hardwares and a 2019 trophy jumps the all-time conference championship total to five.
In the 2019 WAC Men’s Golf Coaches’ Poll conducted Wednesday, UMKC was voted to win the championship with seven first-place votes and 49 points. Grand Canyon, with 41 points, collected the remaining first-place vote and the No. 2 position.
In the 2018 WAC Championship, the team took first place with a 25-over par 865 (284-287-294), which was four strokes better than second-place Grand Canyon. Returning from the championship team are three of five golfers, including 2018 individual medalist junior McCain Schellhardt, senior Francis Lagraulet (T-5th) and sophomore Paul Foulquie (T-7th).
“The conference championship is our biggest tournament all year so to win the tournament (last year) as a team was an amazing experience,” commented Schellhardt. “Our coach always does an amazing job getting us both physically and mentally prepared for conference championships so all we had to do was go out and execute the plan. The course conditions were tough last year so seeing all the guys persevere through that is the reason we were able to come out on top”.
Schellhardt, who is currently leading the conference in lowest stroke average (71.3), owns four top-five finishes on the season. He has been the top Roo finisher in six of nine events overall and leads the team with 16 rounds at-or-below par.
“I am very optimistic of how the team will perform this year,” said Schellhardt. “We have a solid group of guys who are all tremendous players themselves. The biggest key is for us to go see the golf course, establish a game plan, and go out and execute, not worrying about past performances or getting caught up in the future, just playing each shot in the moment. This will give us our most optimal chance to compete”.
In addition to the experience of Lagraulet and Foulquie and their top-10 finish in last year’s championship, the Roos have some more firepower in the form of sophomores Maxence Catherine and Vitek Novak. Catherine ranks fourth in the conference in stroke average (71.8) and Novak is ninth (72.5). Both golfers joined UMKC for the spring semester and have been a huge asset to the program.
Head coach J.W. VanDenBorn is optimistic his team will perform well in this year’s championship.
“I believe our expectations are extremely high,” commented VanDenBorn. “We have had a very solid year from beginning to end and we don’t feel why there is any reason that trend won’t continue. We all know what’s on the line this week and we have been here before. We will put a good plan together for the week and certainly draw on last year’s experiences as well.
“It is always a goal of ours to win the conference title and we are going into the week with that mindset. These guys love to compete, they’ve put the work in, and now we are going to go have some fun. I feel the WAC just gets stronger every year and it is going to be a battle. We are looking forward to competing”.
The NCAA Selection Show will be broadcast on NCAA.com at 8 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, May 1.
The Course: Oakbrook Golf Club | Lakewood, Wash. | Par 71 | 6,715 yards
1. McCain Schellhardt (71.30 stroke average)
2. Paul Foulquie (72.85 stroke average)
3. Maxence Catherine (71.80 stroke average)
4. Francois Lagraulet (73.37 stroke average)
5. Vitek Novak (72.53 stroke average)
The Tournament Schedule: The tournament will be a 54-hole, three-round event with the first round taking place on Saturday, the second on Sunday and the third and final round on Monday. The Roos will be paired with Grand Canyon in the first group to tee-off Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. PT.
Live Scoring: Golfstat.com
Live Video: Facebook Live, produced by the WAC (dependent upon weather and technology)
Season Results and Averages: UMKCkangaroos.com
UMKC Season Facts: Three different individuals have finished first on the team in an event this year: McCain Schellhardt (6 times), Paul Foulquie (2 times) and Francois Lagraulet (1 time)… Foulquie claimed the lowest round of the fall and spring season with a 66 at the fall-opening Northern Intercollegiate in Sugar Grove, Ill., Sept. 15-16, 2018… Schellhardt had the highest overall individual finish tying for first place (69-68-68=205) at the Grand Canyon Invitational, March 15-16… The best finish for the Roos as a team was the top position at the Grand Canyon Invitational (282-271-276=829)… UMKC fired a 271 in the second round of the Grand Canyon event, which is the lowest round of the year… The Roos have finished in the upper half of the team finishes in seven-of-nine events this year.