AMARILLO, TX - After pulling ahead by 10 strokes through the first two rounds of the Sooner Athletic Conference Championship at La Paloma Golf Club, Texas Wesleyan men's golf - ranked third in the NAIA - held steady during Tuesday's third round to claim their first SAC title by those same ten strokes. The victory grants the Rams a spot in the 68th NAIA National Tournament, which will be played at Las Sendas Golf Cub in Mesa, Arizona.
Victor Miron - the leader through two rounds of the tournament - struggled in round three with a +3, 75, but the rest of his teammates were there to lift him up. Taylor Beckstead and Declan Kenny shot their best rounds of the week (72). Futa Yamagishi avoided major blunders and hit even par as well, finishing fourth overall. Tyron Davidowitz finished tied for fifth, capping 74 and 70 rounds on day one with a 73 through the final 18 holes.
Wayland Baptist's Johannes Hounsgaard came surging back after a first-round 73 to shoot a 69 in round two and a scorching 68 in the final 18 to claim first overall. His 68 was only bested by the first round of Texas Wesleyan's Yamagishi - a 67. The Rams' Gerardo Herrera stayed steady and finished 14th, the top individual.
All in all, defending champion Oklahoma City didn't have the depth the Rams did on Tuesday and Texas Wesleyan gave the Stars no opportunity to climb back into contention. Wayland Baptist threatened Oklahoma City for second, but ultimately stayed in third. Southwestern Christian, which entered the day in fourth, shot nine strokes worse than Mid-America Christian in round three, giving the Evangels the fourth-place honor.
The honors came pouring in as soon as TXWES was off the course, headlined by Bobby Cornett receiving the SAC's Coach of the Year award. Miron, Yamagishi and Davidowitz were named to the All-Tournament team. Davidowitz and Yamagishi added All-Conference nods to their resume as well. Hounsgaard (WBU), Sentanio Minnie (WBU), Ty Stiles (OCU) and Jack Madden (OCU) finished off the All-Tournament squad.
Texas Wesleyan men's golf once again has a chance to claim history when it descends upon Mesa May 21-24 to wrap up the athletic year. A regular staple on the leaderboards at the NAIA Championship, the Rams have finished in the top 10 nationally 10 years in a row, gunning for their first national championship since 1999.