JCU Men’s Golf earns OAC title after 25 years hiatus


JCU Sports Information Department

John Carroll Men’s Golf Team on Sunday, May 1 after winning OAC Championship.

Ashley McCall, Sports Editor

The John Carroll University Men’s Golf team capitalized on their successful spring season with a 19-stroke comeback victory, earning them their first Ohio Athletic Conference title since 1997. 

The Blue and Gold have been a powerhouse in the OAC all year as they have finished at the top of the leaderboard in seven of the 11 tournaments they competed in. 

“I’m really happy with our team and I’m so proud of what they accomplished,” said John Carroll Head Coach Mike Moran to the JCU Sports Information Department. “This was a total team effort from one through five.”

The OAC Men’s Championship, which is held at the River Greens Golf Course in West Lafayette, Ohio, is a three day, 72 hole tournament. 

36 holes were played on Friday, April 29, with just one round of 18 being played on each of the next two days, Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1. 

Once again playing against familiar OAC opponents, the Blue Streaks found themselves trailing the Otterbein University Cardinals by 19 strokes after the first two rounds on Friday. 

The Cardinals were posting perfect numbers as the team recorded four scores under the course par of 72 to give them a team score of 576. 

John Carroll trailed behind them with a team score of 595 as they had just one even score of 72 through Jacob Hazen ‘24. 

Jacob Hazen competing at the OAC Championships on Sunday, May 1. (Muskingum University Sports Information Department)

The second day of competition favored the Blue and Gold as the team was able to cut the Otterbein lead to just nine strokes. 

Johnny Roder ‘22 posted the lowest score for the Blue Streaks with a 71 on the day, followed by Hazen with a solid 74, as the team bested the Cardinals by 10 strokes.

Johnny Roder putting at the OAC Championships on Sunday, May 1. (Muskingum University Sports Information Department)

Going into the final day, John Carroll knew they would have to make some big plays on the course, and they did. 

Roder recorded the lowest score of the day with a 69 with five birdies on 18 holes. Hazen once again went even on the day with four birdies of his own. 

“Going out there and firing a 69 on the last day was surreal,” said Roder. “I knew we were in contention the whole time and being able to come out on top with my team is what mattered most.”

Roder finished tied for first place in his senior campaign in the OAC Championship while Hazen tied for fourth with his solid scores throughout the weekend. 

Jack Wymard ‘23 remained a steady presence for the Blue and Gold as he finished the tournament with an individual total score of 299. 

After tallying the team scores, John Carroll defeated Otterbein by a score of 1186 to 1188, a 21 stroke differential from day one. 

The JCU Men’s Golf team celebrates after winning the OAC Championships on Sunday, May 1. (Muskingum University Sports Information Department)

“We didn’t play badly on the first day with the first 2 rounds. We weren’t far off from Day 2-3,” said Moran. “It was easier for us to maintain the level of play than it was for Otterbein. I’ll put it like this: How do you replicate the Mona Lisa? It’s pretty dang hard to do.”

“We felt confident in our ability to comeback since we were able to cut the lead by more than half on day 3, but we knew we would need to remain poised and focused to beat a tough Otterbein team,” said Hazen. “I’m glad I was able to contribute to the team victory, but I’m really happy we were able to make this happen for our upperclassmen and our senior captain, Johnny.”

With this first place title, the Blue and Gold will now travel to Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida to compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Championships from Tuesday, May 10 to Friday, May 13 at Mission Inn Resort & Club.

“As we head to Florida we want to take it one day at a time,” said Roder. “We know it will be a challenge competing with some of the top teams in the nation, but we earned our spot to be here. We are all very excited, but at the same time eager to perform and represent John Carroll. Many schools wish to be in our position, so while it is great to take it all in at nationals we still have a job to complete.”