MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. (4/23/19) – Arkansas State freshman Luka Naglic claimed runner-up honors at the Sun Belt Conference Men’s Golf Championships on Tuesday, helping the Red Wolves complete stroke play in third place out of 12 teams and secure one of four spots in the tournament’s match play format that will determine the league’s champion and automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
The individual medalist was crowned at the end of stroke play, which saw Naglic tied for first place with Georgia Southern’s Steven Fisk after both players shot a combined 202 that tied them for the lowest 54-hole score in this history of the tournament. Fisk, the 18th-ranked player in the nation, defeated Naglic in a sudden death playoff to earn the title.
The Red Wolves have now advanced to at least the tournament semifinals for the third time in the four years the league has used a match play format to determine a team champion. A-State’s 836 combined score, its best ever at the tourney and third lowest total in school history since at least 1993-94, positions it as the No. 3 seed in match play.
Arkansas State’s 54-hole total was also the third lowest score among all Sun Belt programs in the history of the league tournament, behind only Georgia Southern’s 821 and Coastal Carolina’s 825 posted this year. The Red Wolves will face No. 2-seed Coastal Carolina to begin play tomorrow, and the victor will then take on the winner between No. 1 Georgia Southern and No. 4 ULM later that day.
A-State closed out stroke play with a final-round 281, which matched its first-round score. It posted its best score of the tournament during Monday’s second round with a 274 that tied the fifth lowest in school history since at least 1993-94.
Not only did Naglic’s three-round score match the best in the history of the league tourney, it was the second lowest by an A-State player over at least the last two decades. He became just the second player in school history to at least tie for first place at the league’s championship, joining 1994 and 1997 medalist David Faught. He opened play with a season-tying 66 and followed with a 67 and 69 for the second and third rounds, respectively.
Naglic was joined among the top-five finishers by junior Zan Luka Stirn, who placed tied for fifth with a combined 205 (69-66-70). His total included a 66 for the second 18 holes that tied his second best single-round score this season. In the process, he collected his seventh top-five finish this year.
Also competing for the Red Wolves, Matthew Cole finished tied for 27th place with a 214 (74-70-70), Julien Sale tied for 42nd place with a 218 (72-74-72) and Joel Wendin tied for 54th place with a 223 (76-71-76).
The Sun Belt Conference Championships’ match play will begin Wednesday morning at 7:30 a.m. CT.
ARKANSAS STATE RESULTS
Place, Name (RD 1-RD 2-RD 3—Total)
3, Arkansas State (281-274-281—836)
T1, Luka Naglic (66-67-69—202)
T5, Zan Luka Stirn (69-66-70—205)
T27, Matthew Cole (74-70-70—214)
T42, Julien Sale (72-74-72—218)
T54, Joel Wendin (76-71-76—223)