After a year as a redshirt, Wilson Sundvold returns to the Tigers

Monday, September 16, 2013 | 8:09 p.m. CDT; updated 7:57 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Missouri men's golf team player Wilson Sundvold drives a ball into the fairway on the fourth hole of The Club at Old Hawthorne on Monday. Sundvold was playing in the NCAA Columbia Regional Preview, which was hosted by Missouri and included 11 teams. Sundvold sat out last season as a red shirt.

COLUMBIA — An unexpected chill and overcast conditions greeted the Missouri men's golf team as it flocked to the Columbia Regional Preview on Monday.

For some of the players, this was just another tournament; a chance to prove that the win at the Turning Stone Tiger Intercollegiate was not a fluke. For others, it signified the rare time of the year when a tournament didn't require a day's worth of travel since it was being held at The Club at Old Hawthorne.

But for redshirt sophomore Wilson Sundvold, Monday marked the end of a journey 17 months long.

Sundvold joined the the team in 2011 with an impressive local resume. He led Rock Bridge High School to the Missouri Class 4 State Championship as a senior, was named all-state three times and is tied for the lowest round in a Missouri State High School Activities Association event hitting 7-under par.

As a Missouri freshman, Sundvold played in five tournaments and averaged 78.4 strokes per round. His best performance came at the C.O.G. Mizzou Intercollegiate in April 2012, where he hit 77-74-76 for 54 holes and finished tied for 31st.

In the summer of 2012, Sundvold and coach Mark Leroux decided to sit out Sundvold as a redshirt for the 2012-13 season, preventing him from qualifying from tournaments and giving him a year to improve his game.

"We had some depth, and he's in a five-year program academically, so he knew right from high school that he was going to be at Mizzou for five years," Leroux said. "So at some point in that time, there was a year where he wouldn't be allowed to compete with the traveling team, so he picked last year."

Sundvold showed immediate improvement in his first tournament of the 2013 fall season. His seventh-place finish at Turning Stone Intercollegiate marked the first top-10 finish of his career.

"Last year was a really good year off for me," Sundvold said. "I've put a lot of effort into my game, and it's worked out so far. Hopefully, I can stay focused and keep it going."

Through the first day of the Columbia Regional Preview, Sundvold is tied for 42nd place shooting 7-over par. Missouri leads the team leaderboard at 14-under par while senior Emilio Cuartero and freshman Euan Walker hold the top two spots on the player leaderboard.

The tournament's final round starts at 8 a.m. Tuesday at The Club at Old Hawthorne.

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