Colorado School of Mines are the favorites heading into the 2019 men’s golf season, after the Orediggers were picked to win the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference when the preseason coaches poll was released Monday.
The Orediggers, who have won the conference tournament for the past two seasons, received five first-place votes out of a possible 10 to go along with 76 points. While Mines will be without 2019 Golfer of the Year George Markham, who graduated, the Orediggers return three golfers who made the All-RMAC team from last season.
Dixie State University was picked to finish second and received three first-place votes and tallied 69 points. The Trailblazers finished second last season at the conference championship but fared well in the playoffs, as they won the NCAA Division II South Central/West Regional, and also finished in ninth place at the Division II National Championship. In addition, Triston Gardner, last year’s Freshman of the Year, will also return.
Colorado State University-Pueblo and Colorado Christian were picked third and fourth, respectively, as the schools were separated by one point, and both split the remaining first-place votes. Colorado Mesa University was picked fifth, and picked up 54 points, while the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs rounded out the top six after it received 47 points.
Fort Lewis College was picked to finish seventh with 29 points. The Skyhawks had two players named to the preseason players to watch list, as the team’s only seniors, Tyler Blohm and Austin Lienemann, were selected.
Blohm’s highest finish last season was a 17th-place finish at the Samuel Proal Invitational, when he fired a three-day total of 221, with rounds of 76, 69 and 76. He finished in 25th at the RMAC Championships last spring with a 220, shooting a 69, 78 and 73. Of the 13 rounds he competed in, eight were in the 70s.
Lienemann was Fort Lewis’ highest finisher at the RMAC Championships, when he tied for 23rd.
As a team, FLC finished in ninth place.
The Skyhawks will have three tournaments this fall, beginning Sept. 15-17 at the Sam Proal Invitational in Pueblo. They will also compete at the RJGA South Central Preview from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 in Albuquerque, and will close the fall season with the RMAC Fall Preview, Oct. 6 to 8, also in Pueblo.