GV men’s golf claims third first-place finish in Folds of Honor Qualifier


GVL / Bethann Long

Jason Millis, Staff Writer

The Grand Valley State University men’s golf team continued to showcase its depth at the Folds of Honor Qualifier as the team earned its third first-place finish of the fall season.

As the hosts and the ultimate winner of the qualifier, GVSU has secured a position in the Folds of Honor Invitational that will take place in the 2023 spring season. 

The Lakers competed in the NCAA Division I format of the invite the week prior where they finished 11th overall and are eager to get another chance to compete at the highest collegiate level.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for us,” said head coach Gary Bissell. “We’ll get some national exposure against some great programs next year. Competing against the best schools in Division I is just an awesome opportunity to see how we stack up.”

GVSU faced off against a few familiar GLIAC opponents with a mixture of other Division II universities. No matter the case, the Lakers opened up a six-stroke advantage (-1) after the end of the first round.

Sophomores Charles DeLong and Drew Coble were tied with one another for first-place (score of 68, -3), as sophomore Nick Krueger sat in third (-2) and senior Cooper Bell found himself in a four-way tie for sixth place (+1).

DeLong continued to lead the charge individually, as he has led the team in previous invites this season. The end of the second round saw the team finish with a 15-stroke advantage (-7) over second-place.

As DeLong remained on top with a nine-stroke advantage, Krueger moved up into second, Coble tied for fourth and Bell moved down two places to tie for 12th-place (+5). 

Heading into the final round on day two, GVSU’s sole mission was to close out the large lead they built in the first 36 holes.

The end result was exactly that, as seven Lakers placed in the top-20 and the team secured its third team title of their first four invites with a total score of 848 (-4).

DeLong continues to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to individual play, but the sophomore’s leadership and team-first mentality has allowed for a great deal of individual success as DeLong secured his second individual title this season and his eighth-ever of his collegiate career.

DeLong ended with a score of 206 (-7) as Krueger made sure to maintain a definitive second-place finish with a score of 209 (-4). 

Coble finished in fifth while shooting a 215 (+2), freshmen Charlie Cooley and Andrew Gwilliams and Bell all tied for 16th-place (224 score, +11) and junior Alex Jordan finished in a  three-way tie for 20th-place with a score of 226 (+13).

Furthermore, the Lakers saw freshman Murphy Kehoe (+34) and Junior Tanner Moore (+35) finish in 50th and tie for 51st respectively.

With the respect of DeLong, Bissell said that the team’s early season success can be credited to its ability to go deep into the depth chart in order to pull out a win.

“It starts with Charles,” Bissell said. “We have his great play up front, and then it goes all the way down to our fifth, Andrew Gwilliams. We got pretty good rounds out of everybody. If you don’t get contributions from everyone, it’s really tough to win. It’s team golf, and we just did a good job as a team.”

Although this was the second time this season the Lakers hosted an invite at their home course, Bissell felt that playing at home was not the deciding factor in GVSU’s victory.

“You still have to execute and hit the correct shots,” Bissell said. “No matter how well you know a golf course, if you hit a poor shot, it’s still going to lead to a poor result. Playing on such a familiar course lets you relax, but the execution part still has to come through.”

The Lakers defeated several teams including Lee University, the defending Division II golf champions, and Keiser University, defending NAIA golf champions. 

Having the ability to defeat well-versed teams such as those mentioned not only creates bragging rights, but instills confidence amongst the team as they look to rebound from their previous season’s disappointment in the national championship, Bissell said.

“It was a pretty good field, especially at the top end,” Bissell said. “It was good for us to go perform. Beating Lee (University) was big for us. Anytime you can take down the defending national champions, it’s obviously a good week.”

To finish out the fall season, the Lakers will travel to Dearborn, Michigan to play in the two-day Motor City Invitational starting Sunday, Oct. 9-10.