Wright State golf: Raiders win league championship, Flynn takes medalist honors

Wright State went into the final round of the Horizon League golf tourney with just a four-stroke edge on defending champ Purdue Fort Wayne. And the Raiders might have uttered a collective uh-oh when that lead was quickly cut in half.

But while his five-player lineup includes a freshman and two sophomores, coach Conner Lash liked how his team was handling their early stress, never losing sight of the goal.

“These guys were committed to just sticking with their routine and playing their own game. It’s really easy to look at what all the other teams are doing. But they just stayed in their lane,” Lash said.

“We knew it was going to come down to the end. We talked about it last night: ‘Expect a dogfight out there. You’ve got to stay positive and keep chugging along.’ They did a good job of playing till the very end.”

The Raiders blew away the field with a sizzling final nine holes on their way to an 18-stroke victory Monday, finishing with an 8-under-par 856 for their third win in the last five tourneys and eighth overall.

They earned the league’s automatic NCAA tourney bid and will find out their regional destination when bracket is revealed at 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, on the Golf Channel.

PFW finished 10-over-par at the El Campeon course at Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., while Youngstown State was third at 16-over and Oakland fourth at 25-over.

“It’s awesome,” Lash said. “I know how hard it is to win, We saw that last year (after finishing second by five strokes). I really wanted to get some redemption this year.”

The Raiders posted the third-best total score since the league went to three-round tourneys in 1982.

The program also has the two best scores, posting an 850 in 2000 and 851 in 2022.

Their 8-under 280 in the final round was three strokes off the 18-hole record, which was set by the 2000 squad.

Andrew Flynn, a senior from Louisville, won the individual title by beating teammate Timmy Hollenback in a playoff, birdieing the last two holes in regulation and then birdieing the second overtime hole.

In the Wright State Invitational a week earlier, Flynn captured his first individual title by also beating Hollenbeck in a two-hole playoff at Heatherwoode in Springboro.

“Going into today, I was two shots back, and it’s not an easy golf course. I knew if I could go a few under, I’d have a chance,” Flynn said.

“I got the first win of my career last week, and I told people, ‘Hopefully, that takes the monkey off my back.’”

He gives the Raiders their third straight individual champion after wins by Tyler Goecke last year and fifth-year player Mikkel Mathiesen in 2022. They have a league-record nine overall.

Flynn went 69-73-68 for a 6-under total. Hollenbeck, a freshman from Mason who wasn’t even in the lineup until his stellar showing at the Raiders’ event, also finished a stunning 6-under with scores of 67-76-67.

Mathiesen was fourth a 3-under, going 71-72-70. It’s his fourth straight top-four finish, and he ends his career as a four-time all-league and all-tourney team pick.

Five golfers play each day, and four scores count. Sophomore Adam Horn went 75-73-77 for a tie for 17th. And sophomore Shane Ochs tied for 25th after going 75-76-75.

“He was so raw (as a freshman),” Lash said of Flynn. “He really didn’t know how to manage his game. He’s come so far the last two years.

“I saw him this morning, and you can tell he was just so focused and ready to play well. He had a hiccup on the 10th hole (with a double-bogey). Some guys can fall apart when they do that. But he bounced back and finished strong. It tells you how much he’s matured.”

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