Hope College reigned as the very first Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association
champion, winning the 1934 title. The Flying Dutchmen were champions again
in 1947, but it took nearly 40 years before Hope would be atop the MIAA again
winning the championship four consecutive years (1986-1989). Hope has dominated MIAA men's golf in recent years
winning championships ten of the past 13 years (thru fall 2011).
Men's golf has been good to Hope in the new millennium. The Flying Dutchmen
have won the MIAA championship nine of the first eleven years, including
the fall of 2011.
Matt Lapham and Tommy Yamaoka achieved All-MIAA honors four consecutive years (2004-07). They led
the Flying Dutchmen to the MIAA championship each of their years. Amazingly, they finished their MIAA
career with the identical tournament stroke average of 73.3.
Eric Wohlfeld '02 ranks as the top alltime golfer in MIAA history. A three-time
conference medalist, Wohlfield averaged 74.4 strokes per 18-hole
round over his entire collegiate career. In 1999 he was voted the Division
freshman player of the year.
For the second time in five years, a Hope golfer, Tommy Yamaoka, was
named to the 2004 Division III all-freshman national team.
Hope men's golf put together an amazing streak, winning
MIAA medalist honors seven consecutive years from 1998 thru 2004. The
string was broken in 2005, but restarted in 2006.
An Amazing Stretch as MIAA Medalist
1998 - Eric Wohlfield
1999 - Eric Wohlfield
2000 - Aaron Vandenberg
2001 - Eric Wohlfield
2002 - Justin Spyker
2003 - Ryan Shedd
2004 - Tommy Yamaoka
2006 - Matt Lapham
2007 - Tommy Yamaoka
2008 - Steven Strock
2009 - Steven Strock
2010 - Chris Ansel
Hope's first MIAA medalist was Howard Jalving '50 who won the conference
tournament in both 1947 and 1949.
The best 18-hole round by a Hope player in an MIAA regular season tournament is 67 strokes by Ryan Shedd in 2003.
The best 18-hole round by a Hope player in an MIAA qualifying tournament for the NCAA championships is 65 strokes by Nick Campbell in 2012.
The 1986 MIAA champion Flying Dutchmen won every league tournament, a one-time
fete for America's oldest collegiate conference. Hope's 2004 championship
was gained by a margin of only two strokes over eight tournaments,
the closest finish in MIAA history.
Coach Milton "Bud" Hinga had the distinction of coaching three
MIAA championship teams in three different sports during the same calendar
(1934). It began in men's basketball, was followed by men's golf
in the spring, and ended the following fall in football. Hinga joined the
1931 and addition to coaching, served as Director of Athletics and
Dean of Students. He died May 31, 1960.
If Hope College men's golf coach Bob Ebels played the lottery you can be
sure one of the numbers he would pick is seventeen. It has proved to be
tried and true for the Flying Dutchmen who finished 17th four consecutive
times -- 1987, 1988, 2000 and 2006. The 2007 team broke the string when they finished 18th.
As a junior, Tommy Yamaoka achieved NCAA All-America distinction in 2007 by placing 15th in the 185-player field. His average of 76.5 strokes per-hole was the best-ever by a Hope golfer at nationals. Yamaoka, who was the national freshman of the
year in 2005, was voted to this year's Ping All-America second team. He had tournament rounds of 77-75-78-76.
Senior captain Nate Golomb led every golfer in the 2007 NCAA tournament in Par 3 efficiency. He averaged 3.06 strokes on the courses' eight par three holes. He finished 43rd in the final standings with rounds of 77-79-80-78.
The Flying Dutchmen traveled to Scotland in the summer of 2007 for their first international experience.
Unheralded on a national level throughout the season, the 2009-10 Flying Dutchmen went into the record book as the most successful in school history. The team finished in the top ten of the NCAA Division III championships for the first time with three golfers posting the best cumulative tournament rounds in this national competition. The MIAA champion Flying Dutchmen entered the tournament unranked in the Golf World/NIKE Golf Division III Coaches’ Poll. Hope ended in a tie for ninth place. Hope's previous best at the NCAA tournament was 17th place on four different occasions. Three Flying Dutchmen averaged within a stroke of one another and all three surpassed the previous best by a Hope golfer at nationals. Senior captain Steven Strock averaged 74.25 strokes over the four rounds. Junior Chris Ansel averaged 74.75 strokes and freshman Charles Olson averaged 75.25. Strock achieved All-America honors by finishing in a tie for 20th place among the 120 golfers while Ansel finished 27th, Olson 35th, and Thomson 100th. A fifth Hope Golfer, Nick Campbell, was disqualified during the first round (of four) when he self-reported to NCAA Rules Officials his own, unintentional violation of an obscure rule. Nick went on to average 76.0 over the remaining three rounds to contribute to the team's best NCAA showing ever.