MUNCIE, Ind. - The freshman duo of Nick Bonema and Justin LaFrance both turned in strong final-round efforts to pace the Loyola University Chicago men's golf team as play wrapped up at the Earl Yestingsmeier Invitational in Muncie, Ind. this afternoon.
The Ramblers carded a 387 over the final 18 holes of the event to finish in 13th place with a 54-hole team total of 1,154 (382-385-387) at the Delaware Country Club (par 70; 6,438 yards). Eastern Kentucky (358-356-362=1,076) edged host Ball State (362-358-359=1,079) by three strokes for the team crown, while the Cardinals' Michael VanDeventer (70-71-67=208) shared medalist honors with Alec Dutkowski (66-70-72=208) of Taylor University after both finished play at 208.
"Really good week by our top three here at Ball State," Loyola Director of Golf Erik Hoops said. "They're starting to gain some confidence and are playing really well just before Cog Hill. As a coach, that's all you can ask for from your players. We're all very excited to have everyone come to our home turf next week for the MVC Championship."
Bonema and LaFrance continued their impressive rookie campaigns this afternoon in Central Indiana. LaFrance tied his 18-hole season-low as he carded a two-over-par 72 that saw the Milford, Mich. native finish tied for 38th, the top spot for a Rambler, at 225 (77-76-72). Bonema matched LaFrance on the day as he fired a 72 of his own to jump into a tie for 47th with a 227 (76-79-72). The Troy, Mich. product was joined in 47th by, among others, sophomore Orion Yamat who carded a 79 to also post a 227 (73-75-79).
Senior Michael Valletti and junior Kenny Mleko both notched final-round 82s today. Valletti closed the event tied for 82nd at 242 (80-80-82), while Mleko finished with a 241 (81-78-82) to take 81st. Sophomore Zach Hoskins rounded out the Rambler lineup with an 83 to tie for 71st at 236 (76-77-83).
Loyola now returns home to host the 2017 Missouri Valley Conference Men's Golf Championship, April 24-25, at the Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in suburban Lemont, Ill.