OPELIKA, Ala. (2/26/19) – Led by three players collecting a top-15 individual finish, the Arkansas State men’s golf team wrapped up play Tuesday at the Tiger Invitational in fourth place out of 16 teams after posting a combined three-round 873 score.
A-State began play Sunday at its first spring tournament by posting a 283 that put it atop the leaderboard, but dropped to third after shooting a 300 for the second 18 holes. The Red Wolves came back today to cut 10 strokes off their second-round total, but South Alabama shot a 288 to edge them by one stroke in the final standings.
Including Arkansas State, the tournament field featured three top-25 ranked programs. Host-school and No. 10 Auburn claimed the championship with a combined 853, while No. 6 SMU finished runner-up with an 863.
A-State finished ahead of Kennesaw State, UNC Wilmington, Auburn (B), ULM, Chattanooga, Western Kentucky, Georgia State, Mercer, Missouri, Austin Peay State, Florida Atlantic and Lipscomb.
“The weather has made it difficult to have a consistent practice schedule leading up to this tournament, so to come out and shoot 5-under in the first round was really good,” said A-State head coach Mike Hagen. “If we don’t shoot the 12-over yesterday and just keep it somewhere close to par, we’re right there with SMU. I also liked the way our guys responded in the third round, staying motivated and shooting 2-over after a tough day on Monday.
“There were a lot of good things that happened this week that you have to look at, both how we performed coming in from the fall and then also moving on into the spring. I’m proud of how our guys come to work every day and their work ethic never changes, so I’m happy about where we’re at after this event.”
Julien Sale recorded a combined 215 (71-74-70) to place him a team-best tied for eighth place. The junior’s total was his second lowest three-round score of the season, helping him pick up his third top-10 finish of the year.
Ending the tournament tied for 10th place, senior Joel Wendin shot a combined 216 (66-79-71) that counted as his second lowest 54-hole total this season. He carded a career-best 66 for the opening round and has now finished among the top 10 players in four of A-State’s six tournaments.
Finishing among the top 15 players for the Red Wolves as well, freshman Luka Naglic shot a 217 (74-74-69) that put him in a tie for 12th place. The tournament marked his fourth top-15 outing of the season.
Also competing for A-State, junior Zan Luka Stirn finished tied for 59th place with a 229 (74-74-81) and junior Matthew Cole placed tied for 62nd with a 230 (72-78-80).
The Red Wolves return to action March 11-12 at the Border Olympics in Laredo, Texas.
ARKANSAS STATE RESULTS
Place, Name (RD 1-RD 2-RD 3—Total)
4, Arkansas State (283-300-290—873)
T8, Julien Sale (71-74-70—215)
T10, Joel Wendin (66-79-71—216)
T12, Luka Naglic (74-74-69—217)
T59, Zan Luka Stirn (74-74-81—229)
T62, Matthew Cole (72-78-80—230)