HOLLAND -- The Flying Dutchmen have captured their fourth consecutive Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) men's golf championship. By winning the season-ending tournament on Monday (Oct. 16), coach Bob Ebels' Dutchmen set an MIAA record for margin of victory in the seasonal standings. Hope ended 70 strokes ahead of runnerup Olivet (2,351/2,421) by winning six of the league's eight tournaments this fall.
As league champions Hope has earned a berth in the NCAA Division III championships to be held next spring. It is the first year that Division III conference champions are being awarded automatic berths in the national tournament.
Junior Matt Lapham (Brighton, Mich.) captured the MIAA medalist honor by averaging 71.8 strokes over the season's eight tournaments. His average was the second best in league history. Lapham and teammate Tommy Yamoaka (Zeeland, Mich.) achieved All-MIAA first team honors for the third year in-a-row. Team captain Nate Golomb (Schoolcraft, Mich.) also achieved All-MIAA first team recognition. Juniors Ryan Sheets (Saline, Mich.) and Steve Martindale of Midland (H.H. Dow HS) each received All-MIAA second team recognition.
All-MIAA honors are awarded on the basis of seasonal averages. Lapham average 71.8 strokes followed by Golomb 73.1, Yamaoka 73.6, Sheets 77.0 and Martindale 77.6. Golomb, Lapham and Yamaoka were each medalist at least once of a tournament during the season. This year the Dutchmen set course records in four tournaments. The team's average of 293.9 strokes per tournament was a conference record.
Hope has won the MIAA championship seven of the past eight years. The Flying Dutchmen will be making their fifth appearance in the national tournament, the fourth since 2000. Last spring the team finished 17th in a field of 23 teams. Coach Bob Ebels has guided Hope's golf fortunes since 1991. Over the past decade Hope has not finished below second in place in the MIAA standings.
Other members of the squad included freshman Josh Jelenek of Laingsburg (Laingsburg HS), sophomore Donald Kring of Williamsburg (St. Francis HS), junior Steve Martindale of Midland (H.H. Dow HS), sophomore Dan Oumedian of Jenison (Jenison HS), sophomore Donald Scholten of Grand Rapids (GR Christian HS), and freshman Steven Strock of Grandville (Grandville HS).