Wright State golf: Carroll product Goecke plans to play last season at North Carolina

FAIRBORN — Second-year Wright State golf coach Conner Lash knows how good he’s had it.

With seniors Tyler Goecke and Mikkel Mathiesen as a one-two punch, he knew he never had to worry about the top of his lineup.

“These last two years, I think there’s times I’ve been spoiled,” he said. “I’m walking down the course, and I sometimes don’t even pay attention when they tee off. I know they’re going to hit the fairway or green. They make it look a lot easier than it really is.”

Though Lash is expected to field another strong team next season, he’ll have to make do without the most accomplished player in school history.

The dynamic duo is breaking up.

Goecke, who has one year of eligibility left, is transferring to North Carolina. He made the decision last September but hadn’t made it public until this month.

The chance to play on a bigger stage was too much for the Carroll grad to pass up.

“I love it here. I love Conner and all the guys. And I love the area. But ultimately, I have a really good opportunity,” Goecke said.

He’s a two-time Horizon League golfer of the year and won the individual title this season.

His 71.32 career average shattered PGA Tour winner Frank Lickliter’s program record of 74.0.

He graduated this month with a degree in finance.

“I started thinking about it at the beginning of the school year. I wanted to have time to make a decision. My goal was to never make a lateral move. If I was only going to go to a place like the University of Cincinnati — they’ve got a good program, but I couldn’t leave Wright State just for that,” Goecke said.

“When it’s something like North Carolina, that doesn’t come along every day.”

The Tarheels, who rank third nationally according to Golfweek, begin play in the NCAA Championships on Friday in Scottsdale, Ariz. UNC’s roster includes Butler High School product Austin Greaser. The Tarheels are making a sixth straight appearance in the NCAA tourney.

Goecke has the two best single-season averages at Wright State: 70.47 in 2021-22 and 70.53 this season.

He also has the most individual tourney wins for a Raider with seven.

“I’m excited for him,” Lash said. “I think it’ll be really cool seeing him play at that level — and watching him on TV, too.”

Mathiesen, who’s spending his fifth season with the Raiders, has the program’s next-best averages at 70.83 this season and 71.42 in 2021-22.

But he’ll be surrounded by a youthful starting five in 2023-24 since Davis Root and Cole Corder, who played as fifth-year seniors, also have to be replaced.

Senior-to-be Andrew Flynn is back after spending most of the year as the fifth man. And a pair of freshmen showed promise.

Adam Horn, a Cincinnati Milford grad, is still playing for a spot in the U.S. Open. He carded a 70, one off the low score of the day, at Scioto Reserve C.C. on May 1 to become one of six players (in a field of 120) to advance to the final stage of qualifying.

Shane Ochs, a Carroll product, played in the same tournament and shot 72 to become the second alternate. He finished runner-up in the Wright State Invitational this year, falling in a playoff to Mathiesen.

“Shane and Adam had good reps as freshmen. They got to watch the older guys and learned a lot,” Lash said.

“On paper, I think we’ll still be fine. But you know how golf is. You’ve got to show up, you’ve got to play and you’ve got to score.”

Mathiesen, who set the league tourney scoring record while winning in 2022, believes the Raiders can make another title bid next season.

“I’m really optimistic. I think we have a group of guys who will work hard,” he said.

“Three or four guys who weren’t in the lineup got to see what it takes. They definitely have some game. And they’re motivated, so they’ll keep improving.”

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