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SIU Peyton Wilhoit

SIU golfer Peyton Wilhoit (right) takes a swing in this file photo from Saluki athletics.

ST. LOUIS — Illinois State was picked to win the 2019 Missouri Valley Conference men's golf championship in a vote of league coaches. The Redbirds were a unanimous choice, receiving all nine first-place votes, while SIU was second.

The MVC championship will be played Monday-Tuesday, April 22-23, at the par-72, 7,060-yard layout at the The Club at Porto Cima in Sunrise Beach, Missouri. Teams will play 36 holes on Monday with a shotgun start beginning at 8:30 a.m. The final round on Tuesday will begin with tee times at 8 a.m.

Illinois State enters the MVC championship as the league's highest rated team (72 nationally in GolfStat and 77 in Golfweek). The Redbirds claimed two team titles throughout the 2018-19 campaign, including the prestigious Purdue Boilermaker Invitational earlier this week. Bradley (two), Drake (one) and Southern Illinois (one) also earned a team championship at an event this season.

Notably, the coaches pre-championship poll fell right in line with the GolfStat Team Rankings, as Southern Illinois (second) and Missouri State (third) follow Illinois State. The Salukis (126) and Bears (143) both are in the top 150 in those national rankings. Of current MVC schools, Drake and Illinois State have the most team titles, with five apiece.

Illinois State last won the league championship in 2007, while Drake's last MVC championship win came in 1998. Other current league schools to have won an MVC men's golf championship include Bradley (2018), Missouri State (1993) and Southern Illinois (2016). SIU has finished first or second in two of the last three years after coming in second last year.

The league's top rated individuals are from Illinois State. Trent Wallace is atop the MVC leaderboard, and he's followed by teammate David Perkins. Peyton Wilhoit of Southern Illinois (third), who received an at-large bid to the NCAA regionals last season, Brad Carpenter of Missouri State (fourth) and Joel Durnford of Illinois State (fifth) round out the top 5 in the GolfStat rankings.

Wallace earned medalist honors at the league championship in both 2016 and 2017. The league has never had a three-time medalist at the conference event, although 12 have won it twice. Drake Bushong of Bradley won last year's medalist honor in leading the Braves to the team title.

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Sports reporter

Todd Hefferman has covered SIU athletics since 2008. A University of Iowa grad, he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and a Heisman Trophy voter.

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