LAREDO, Texas (3/12/19) – Zan Luka Stirn collected his third career individual championship to lead the 20th-ranked Arkansas State men’s golf team to its third tournament title this season on Tuesday with a first-place finish among 16 teams at the Border Olympics.
The Red Wolves have now won two of their last three tournaments and finished among the top three teams in five of seven outings on the year. A-State recorded a combined 835, its second lowest three-round score over the last 12 years, to pick up its 13th all-time title under head coach Mike Hagen.
Also taking top individual honors earlier this season at the Lone Star Invitational, Stirn was one of three A-State players that finished among the top 10 leaders as Matt Cole tied for third place and Julien Sale tied for eighth.
“This was an entire team effort,” said Hagen. “Everyone contributed throughout the event, and we had different guys playing well at the right times. We started the first round on the tougher part of the golf course and came out a little slow, but once we reached hole nine in that opening round, we were able to get things jump started and finished strong from there.”
The Red Wolves ended yesterday’s initial 36 holes at the Laredo Country Club atop the leaderboard after posting a 275 and 270 for the first and second rounds, respectively. Their 270 score was their lowest for a single round since at least the 2007-08 season.
While A-State came back today to shoot a 290, it still tied the second lowest score of the day among all teams and took a 15-stroke victory over runner-up Sam Houston State. UT Rio Grande Valley finished third with a combined 853.
Stirn ended the tournament with a career-best 204 that featured a second-round 65, which was also the lowest single-round total of his career. The junior opened play with a 68 and carded a 71 today as he finished three strokes ahead of runner-up Cody Burrows of Oral Roberts. He now has four top-five finishes this season.
“I don’t think (Zan Luka) was real happy with the way he played down at Auburn, and he was just a little off, but he came back and worked hard just like all the guys did,” said Hagen. “He was even par through the first nine holes yesterday, but then really kicked it into high gear, and I’m really proud of him for his second win (this season).”
Cole took home his second best finish this season after shooting a combined 208. His top round of the tournament saw him record a 65, matching Stirn for the lowest single-round score by an A-State player since the 2013-14 season. The junior recorded an opening-round 67 and shot a 76 today.
Sale, who won the Golfweek Conference Challenge back in September, completed the tourney with a combined 211 that tied his lowest three-round score this season. Now with three top-10 finishes this year, the junior posted a 67 that was not only the best score of the day by an A-State player, but also tied his low round on the year. He shot a 72 for each of yesterday’s rounds.
Also competing for the Red Wolves, freshman Luka Naglic recorded a combined 217 (72-68-77) to finished tied for 28th place. Senior Joel Wendin placed tied for 31st with a 218 total (68-74-76), while senior Jakub Bares shot a 226 (75-74-77) to finish tied for 70th. Bares played as an individual.
Arkansas State returns to action at the Lake Charles (La.) Invitational March 18-19.
ARKANSAS STATE RESULTS
Place, Name (RD 1-RD 2-RD 3—Total)
1, Arkansas State (275-270-290—835)
T3, Matt Cole (67-65-76—208)
T8, Julien Sale (72-72-67—211)
T28, Luka Naglic (72-68-77—217)
T31, Joel Wendin (68-74-76—218)
T70, Jakub Bares* (75-74-77—226)
*Competed as an individual