HANOVER, Ind. – With a successful start to the spring season behind them, the Hanover men's golf team will turn its attention to the opening two rounds of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship this weekend.
The Panthers will compete in the nine-team event Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29, at the Fort Golf Resort in Indianapolis. The final two rounds will take place next weekend in Defiance, Ohio at Eagle Rock Golf Club. Over the next two weeks, the HCAC will crown a team champion that will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III National Championships that takes place May 15-18.
THE FIELD: Bluffton (Ohio), Defiance (Ohio), Earlham (Ind.), Franklin (Ind.), Hanover (Ind.), Manchester (Ind.), Mt. St. Joseph (Ohio), Rose-Hulman (Ind.), Transylvania (Ky.)
ROGERS RETURNS TO CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT: Senior Tony Rogers (Indianapolis, Ind.) will be competing in his fourth HCAC Championship tournament this weekend and already has a trio of top 20 finishes in the four-round event. Rogers placed tied for 20th last spring and his best conference finish came his freshman year, 2015, where he placed tied for ninth.
The senior has been Hanover's most consistent golfer all season long and has a team-best scoring average of 76.94. Rogers has also been playing his best golf of 2018 over the past month, recording 36-hole scores of 147 in two of his last three outings, all of which have been top-10 finishes.
SOPHOMORES MAKING FIRST HCAC APPEARANCES: Sophomores Austin Zapp (Union, Ky.) and Bradley Murray (Carmel, Ind.) will compete in their first HCAC Championship this weekend and both have produced three consecutive top 25 finishes heading into Saturday's first round. Zapp, who ranks third on the squad in scoring average at 77.53, has one of HC's two conference golfer of the week awards this spring. He also led the Blue and Red in the fall at the Fort Golf Resort, placing 11th at the Dick Park Invitational with a two-round score of 153. Valentine is coming off his best performance of the season at the Yellow Jacket Invitational, where he fired off a 36-hole total of 150 (77-73).
FIRST YEARS MAKE TOURNAMENT TEAM: A pair of freshmen in Aaron Wade (Loveland, Ohio) and Garrett Valentine (Elizbethtown, Ky.) have qualified to compete for the Panthers in the conference tournament this weekend. Wade has finished no worse than 26th in any tournament this season and has a scoring average of 77.33. Wade also posted a top-20 finish at the Dick Park Invite in the fall. Valentine recently produced a top-five finish at the Hanover Invitational, ripping off a two-round score of 153. He currently hoists a scoring average of 80.00.
HISTORY AT THE HEARTLAND: Hanover has found quite a bit of success at the HCAC Championships this decade, placing no worse than fourth since the 2010 tournament. The Panthers are coming off a fourth-place finish last season and have accumulated exactly 1228 strokes in each of the past two years. The Blue and Red's only HCAC Championship victory came in 1999 where they posted a two-round total of 630.
Contact: Tyler Jester