The MIAA champion Flying Dutchmen will begin play in the NCAA Division III golf championships on Tuesday, May 15.
The four-day, 72-hole tournament will be played on two courses, the Praire View Golf Club in Carmel, Ind. and The Hawthorns Golf and Country Club in Fishers, Ind.
The championships have an expanded field by virtue of giving champions in NCAA-affiliated conferences automatic berths. The field of 35 teams will be cut to 24 teams after 36 holes of competition.
The Flying Dutchmen will be making their fifth appearance in the national tournament, the fourth since 2000. A year ago the team was 17th in a field of 23 teams. In fact, Hope has been 17th in each of its national tournament appearances -- 1987, 1988, 2000 and 2006.
Hope's national entry is identical to the squad that competed a year ago -- senior captain Nate Golomb of Schoolcraft, Mich. (Schoolcraft HS), junior Matt Lapham of Brighton, Mich. (Brighton HS), junior Steve Martindale of Midland, Mich. (H.H. Dow HS), junior Ryan Sheets of Saline, Mich. (Saline HS), and junior Tommy Yamaoka of Zeeland, Mich. (Zeeland East HS). Sophomore Don Kring of Williamsburg, Mich. (St. Francis HS) will be the alternate.
The rankings and scores of Hope's golf at the 2006 nationals were: Tommy Yamaoka, 36th ( 80-75-74-80--309), Matt Lapham, 51st (81-72-80-80-313), Nate Golomb, 64th (77-78-81-81--317), Ryan Sheets, 74th (81-79-78-82--320), and Steve Martindale, 104th (81-83-82-86--332).
Hope earned a berth by virtue of winning the MIAA conference title last fall. The Flying Dutchmen captured their fourth consecutive MIAA championship in record form. Coach Bob Ebels' Dutchmen set an MIAA record for margin of victory in the seasonal standings ending 70 strokes ahead of runnerup Olivet by winning six of the league's eight tournaments.
Lapham captured the MIAA medalist honor by averaging 71.8 strokes over the eight tournaments. His average was the second best in league history. Yamoaka achieved All-MIAA first team honors for the third year in-a-row. Golomb also achieved All-MIAA first team recognition. Sheets and Martindale each received All-MIAA second team recognition.