MCKINNEY, Texas – Lamar needed just one playoff hole Wednesday at Stonebridge Country Club against Central Arkansas to claim its 24th Southland team men's golf title title and first since the 2009 season.
On Wednesday, senior M.J. Daffue, who had already laid claim to the individual medal for the second consecutive year, needed to two-putt on the only playoff hole to give the Cardinals the victory. He covered nearly 20 feet on his first putt and then tapped in to give his team the win and the league’s automatic berth into one of six NCAA regionals May 17-19.
In winning the individual medal in consecutive seasons, Daffue became the first golfer to win back-to-back titles since Tim Graham of McNeese State won three consecutive titles between 1977-79. Daffue shot rounds of 72, 74 and a 2-under par 70 in the final round to finish even-par for the tournament.
Lamar placed two more players in the top seven. Freshman Luke Jerling finished 7-over par (72-77-74–223) to tie for fifth and senior Xavier Feyaerts was one shot back (69-82-73–224) to tie for seventh. Senior Kevin Hesbois (75-80-75–230) tied for 20th and junior Tor-Erik Knudson (80-79-76–235) tied for 29th.
“This is a very difficult golf course so I thought we would do well since it’s a ball-striking golf course and that’s what we’re good at,” said Brian White. who has guided the Cardinals to four conference titles as head coach. “I told the guys all we can do is go out and play a great round. If we shoot even par, we’d have a good chance to win.
“It was stressful to go into the playoff because we actually had built a four-stroke lead and then gave it back as we had three guys three- putt on 17. It’s very satisfying to get this win, though, because I believed we had the best team coming in.”
Central Arkansas had a 7-stroke lead entering the day, but shot 11-over as a team. The Bears fell behind, but were able to force a playoff after three of the last four Cardinals bogeyed No. 17. The teams each totaled a team score of 890 through 54 holes.
The Bears were led by senior Antonio Costa. The leader after the first two rounds slipped to second with a 76 in the final rounds after scores of 72 and 71. His three-round total of 219 was three strokes behind Daffue. Senior Josh Sims tied for 11th after shooting a 73 in the final rounds to go with scores of 74 and 78 the first two days. Freshman David Morago (79-75-72–226) tied for 13th, while freshman Pep Angels (75-76-78) and junior Austen Moix (70-78-81) tied for 16th at 229.
Southeastern Louisiana junior Phillip Westermann (73-76-72–221) finished third and Sam Houston State senior Garrett Driver (75-73-74–222) was fourth. Jerling and UT Arlington senior Jamey Taylor tied for fifth at 223.
UT Arlington (903) climbed from a fifth-place tie to finish third in trying to defend last year’s team championship. Stephen F. Austin (914) was fourth followed by Texas State (917), Southeastern Louisiana (918), Sam Houston State (923), UTSA (932), Nicholls State (940) and McNeese State (965).