HANCEVILLE – Wallace State freshman golfer Aksel Olsen accomplished a feat last week never achieved before in coach Dan York’s 26 years with the program. Olsen became the first Wallace State golfer to earn low medalist at the NJCAA Men’s Golf Championship. Olsen finished with a four-day total of 281 at The Rawls Course in Lubbock, Texas, earning him the Arnold Palmer Award as the low medalist along with recognition as an NJCAA All-American.
“I’m very proud of Aksel and what he accomplished out there. He was in a slump throughout parts of the spring, but he stepped it up during the most important tournament of the year. That will open the door for him to hook on with some major universities once he leaves here, but we’re excited about him coming back next year. We have four of our five top guys returning, so I hope all the experience we gained in Texas will pay dividends next year,” said York, who has coached the likes of Fredrick Jacobsen and Brett Wetterich at Wallace State among other eventual professionals.
Wallace State finished seventh nationally out of 24 teams. The Lions maintained a five-stroke lead halfway through their day three round before Central Alabama and Odessa College (Texas) pulled away from the field.
Olsen, a Norwegian, put together an impressive surge on the final day of the tournament. He started out tied for ninth after three rounds (2-under-par 213), but shot a 5-under-par 67 in the final round. Olsen was forced into a playoff against Meridian Community College’s (Miss.) T.J. Morgan on the 18th and claimed the individual title by making par, while Morgan bogeyed the final hole.
Olsen becomes the 14th NJCAA All-American to play for York.
“The thing that separates Aksel from most freshmen and sophomores is he is advanced mentally as far as accepting bad shots. He doesn’t let them linger,” said York, who made his 18th national tournament appearance. “He’s also conservative, but aggressive. He’s conservative because he doesn’t take unnecessary chances on the course, but he’s aggressive when he swings the club.”
Wallace State’s seventh-place finish was a stark improvement from ending last year’s tournament in 18th.
Wallace State’s Jake Miller was two shots shy of making the All-American team, finishing with a total of 291. Michael Zierdt (297), Chris Atchley (299) and Patrick Twesme (305) rounded out the field for the Lions.
Zierdt was the only Wallace State sophomore competing at nationals.
Atchley, a first-team All-Region member, was Wallace State’s low medalist during the ACCC state tournament in Decatur earlier this month.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit wallacestate.edu.
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