BALTIMORE, Md. – The Goucher College men's golf team begins its quest for its second-straight Landmark Conference Men's Golf Championships at the Dauphin Highlands Golf Course in Hershey, Pa., on Friday. The two-day competition was scheduled to begin on Saturday and conclude on Sunday, but was moved up a day to start on Friday due to the weather forecast.
Evan Yue (Beijing, Chjina/IMG Academy), Julian Gonzalez (Heredia, Costa Rica/Berkeley Academy), Roberto Mikse (Fort Worth, Texas/Jim McClean Junior Academy), Steph Lee (Manalapan, N.J./Saint John Vianney) and Nick Fisher (Fishers, Ind./Fishers) will look to recreate the magic from the Landmark Conference Men's Golf Invitational when the Gophers won the fall event on the course the championships will be decided on October 20-21. As a team, Goucher rallied from a five-stroke deficit to Drew University on the first day and then won the two-day event by 12 strokes after shooting a 311 in the opening round and a 302 in the final round for a score of 613.
Gonzalez won the fall event after shooting a two-under two-day score of 142 to win the medalist honor by eight strokes. Yue placed third with a score of 153 and Mikse also placed in the Top-10, finishing seven with a 157. Fisher was 15th after carding a 161. Lee was not one of the squad's five competitors in the fall event and will be playing the course for the first time.
Goucher will be looking for its second-straight conference crown after earning the title last season in the inaugural season for the Gophers. The team took a one-stroke lead after the first round and then won the championship by three strokes after carding a 315 and a 334 in the two rounds for a 649. Lee (3rd place, 77-83=160), Mikse (5th place, 77-84=161) and Yue (7th place, 80-84=164) all earned All-Landmark Conference first team accolades while Joe Burns (Kinnelon, N.J./Kinnelon) (9th place, 81-84=165) and Wade Howard (11th place, 84-83=167) racked up second-team honors.
The defending league champions will be paired in the first group of teams to tee off and will be paired with Juniata College, Moravian College and the University of Scranton for the opening round.
Fisher will be the first Gopher to hit the links at 1:30 p.m. He is averaging 82.1 strokes per round in 16 rounds this season with his best round this year coming in the season opener at the Don Scalf Invitational with a 77 on September 23.
Lee will be the next player on the course at 1:40 p.m. The sophomore is averaging 82.4 strokes per round in 12 rounds this season. He carded a 78 in the opening round of the Goucher Spring Invitational on April 15 for his best round in 2018-19.
Mikse will follow Lee by teeing off at 1:50 p.m. He is averaging 78.5 strokes per round in 16 rounds in his sophomore campaign. Mikse has two Top-10 finishes this year including a sixth-place standing at the Goucher Spring Invitational while he carded his best round of the year in the second round of the Don Scalf Invitational with an even-par round of 72.
Gonzalez will hit the links at 2 p.m. The freshman sensation, owner of four Landmark Conference Player of the Week awards, is averaging 73.9 strokes per round in 16 rounds on the year. Along with winning the conference event in the fall, Gonzalez won the Revolutionary Collegiate Classic on October 14 while finishing in the Top-3 in five events and the Top-10 in seven of the eight competitions on the year. Gonzalez has carded five rounds under par including a career-best 69 in the opening round at both the Don Scalf Invitational and the Mason-Dixon Collegiate Classic on October 7 and has seven rounds of par or below in his freshman campaign.
Yue will be in the final group of the first set of pairings to hit the course at 2:10 p.m. The sophomore has been the squad's top golfer in the last two competitions and was named the Landmark Conference Player of the Week after placing third at the Goucher Spring Invitational on April 15. Yue is averaging 78.3 strokes per round this season and has two Top-3 finishes this season. He shot an even round of 72 in the opening round of the Goucher Spring Invitational for his best round on the year.
If the Gophers claim its second-straight conference title, it would be headed to the NCAA Division III Championship at the Keane Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Kentucky on May 14-17. Last year after Goucher won the conference title, it advanced to the NCAA Division III Championship at the Grandover Resorts in Greensboro, North Carolina. The team finished 35th as a team last season and Yue was the top individual finisher with a 39th place finish and just missed the cut to compete in the individual phase of the championships.