Sanders Park Wins HCAC Title, Team Earns 4th Place Finish

225-Park-ChampionDEFIANCE, OHIO -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology sophomore Sanders Park (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton) became the first Fightin' Engineer to win a men's golf individual conference championship since 1996 by winning a seven-hole playoff for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference title.

Park fired a four-day score of 296, with rounds of 70, 74, 76 and 76 to earn a three-way share of the 72-hole top spot in the individual conference championship standings. 

Park joined Robert Bader of Hanover and Clay Hinton of Transylvania in a sudden death playoff for individual medalist honors and the title of conference champion.  All three players recorded scores of par on the first five holes of the playoff.

On the sixth playoff hole, Park buried a seven-foot par putt to join Hinton in continuing on in the sudden death event.  Bader missed his six-foot par putt to fall out of the three-way tie.

Returning to the 17th hole and the seventh playoff hole of the day, Park had a 40-foot putt to win.  He was able to two-putt from 40-feet, forcing Hinton to make an eight-foot putt to continue the playoff.  After the putt missed, Park earned the HCAC individual title.

With the victory, Park became the first conference men's golf individual champion for Rose-Hulman since Joe Miller won the Indiana Collegiate Athletic Conference title in 1996.

Park has established a season-school record with a 74.40 scoring average.  His season has included two victories, four top-five finishes and 10 top-ten placements in 10 events this year.  Park also tied a school record with a round of 68, one of three under-par rounds on his 2013-14 season.

Park's performance helped Rose-Hulman finish fourth overall in the team competition.  Transylvania University repeated its team title with a score of 1,195.  The tight competition from second through fourth ended with Mount St. Joseph at 1,242, Hanover at 1,247 and Rose-Hulman at 1,248.

Defiance, Franklin, Manchester and Anderson rounded out the finishing order for the championship.  

Senior Travis Whithaus (Robinson, Ill./Vicennes) and freshman Tapat Wittayakom (Chiang Mai, Thailand/Prem Tinsulandona International) added top 20 finishes to the Fightin' Engineer team performance.

Whithaus came home 11th overall with rounds of 77, 80, 72 and 82.  Wittayakom fired rounds of 77, 82, 80 and 82 to come home 15th individually.

Sophomore Kent Kraus (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove) and freshman Luke Peoples (Terre Haute, Ind./South Vigo) earned a share of 21st place with four-day scoring totals of 327.

Following the tournament, Park was crowned Most Valuable Player and Whithaus earned a spot on the league's all-sportsmanship team.


TEAM SCORES: 1) Transylvania 298-305-293-299=1195; 2) Mount St. Joseph 297-322-311-312=1242; 3) Hanover 309-318-312-308=1247; 4) Rose-Hulman 305-318-308-317=1248; 5) Defiance 321-333-326-303=1283; 6) Franklin 320-335-330-326=1311; 7) Manchester 330-335-340-331=1339; 8) Anderson 366-366-362-386=1480

ROSE-HULMAN INDIVIDUALS: 1) Sanders Park 70-74-76-76=296 *; 11) Travis Whithaus 77-80-72-82=311; 15) Tapat Wittayakom 77-82-80-82=321; 21) Kent Kraus 81-86-80-80=327; 21) Luke Peoples 81-82-85-79=327

NOTE: * Park won the individual title on the seventh hole of a sudden death playoff