JONESBORO, Ark. (4/2/19) – Led by individual co-champion Zan Luka Stirn, the 28th-ranked Arkansas State men’s golf team won the Bubba Barnett Intercollegiate for the third consecutive year on Monday at the RidgePointe Country Club.
The Red Wolves won their home tournament for the ninth time since its inaugural year in 1997, and in the process claimed their fourth tournament championship of the year for their most since winning a school-record six during the 2015-16 season.
“It obviously feels good to get the win – we played really well today,” said A-State head coach Mike Hagen. “Sometimes you can have added pressure playing at home, but I thought our guys did a nice job with the way they approached this tournament.
“I don’t think we had a true home-course advantage yesterday with the weather conditions we were facing, but today we saw the course play more similar to what we’re used to. It was a little warmer and there was a wind that you see more often with these types of greens, so we made a lot of birdies.”
In addition to Stirn, A-State placed two other players on the all-tournament team and saw six of its seven competing golfers finish among the top 20 individuals. Matt Cole and Trent Jones both tied for fourth place to join Stirn on the five-man all-tournament team.
A-State took the early lead after posting a first-round 287 and maintained its advantage over the 11-team field at the conclusion of the second round, which saw it shoot a 291. The Red Wolves entered today’s final round with a seven-stroke advantage over ULM, but posted a 279 to increase its final margin of victory to 16 strokes over the runner-up Warhawks. A-State finished with a combined 857, while ULM posted an 873 and third-place Eastern Kentucky an 879.
Stirn shot a 54-hole 211 (72-70-69) to tie his third lowest three-round score this season and become the sixth all-time A-State player to win the Bubba Barnett Intercollegiate. He collected his third individual championship this season and the fourth of his career.
“All our guys work hard, so I’m not surprised when any of them win a tournament,” said Hagen. “I’m really proud of Zan Luka and the year he’s having, now with three tournament wins.”
Cole, who won the tournament the previous two years, picked up his third top-five finish of the season after shooting a 215 (72-74-69). Competing as an individual, Jones also shot a 215 (74-73-68) that tied the third lowest 54-hole score of his career. He carded a career-tying 68 for the final round, helping him to the best finish of his career as well.
Luka Naglic followed the three all-tournament selections with a 10th-place showing by shooting a 216 (72-74-70), giving him three top-10 outings on the season. Julien Sale shot a 217 (71-75-71) to place him tied for 11th, marking his fifth top-15 finish this year.
Ending the tournament tied for 16th place, Joel Wendin recorded his eighth top-20 finish in nine tournaments by shooting a 220 (75-73-72). Also playing for A-State as an individual, Jakub Bares finished tied for 52nd place with a 233 (77-72-84).
The Red Wolves have one tournament remaining before the Sun Belt Conference Championships. They will next play in the Bayou City Collegiate Classic April 15-16 in Houston, Texas.
ARKANSAS STATE RESULTS
Place, Name (RD 1-RD 2-RD 3—Total)
1, Arkansas State (287-291-279—857)
T1, Zan Luka Stirn (72-70-69—211)
T4, Matthew Cole (72-74-69—215)
T4, Trent Jones* (74-73-68—215)
10, Luka Naglic (72-74-70—216)
T11, Julien Sale (71-75-71—217)
T16, Joel Wendin (75-73-72—220)
T52, Jakub Bares* (77-72-84—233)
*Competed as an individual