JONESBORO, Ark. (10/20/17) – Golfstat announced its first NCAA rankings for the 2017-18 season this week, and Arkansas State was tabbed as the No. 46 men’s golf team in the nation.
Claiming a pair of runner-up finishes and a 36-5 record for an .878 winning percentage through three tournaments this year, the Red Wolves are also listed at No. 55 in the latest Golfweek rankings. Dating back to the 1999-2000 season, A-State’s highest end-of-year ranking by Golfweek was No. 65 the same year.
“I am excited about the way we’ve started the season,” said third-year A-State head coach Mike Hagen, who led the Red Wolves to back-to-back top-three finishes at the Sun Belt Conference Championships for the first time in school history during his first two seasons at the helm. “We did a good job increasing the strength of our schedule over the past two seasons, and the guys have responded well. It won’t get any easier as the year goes on, but I’m confident this group will continue to improve and excel."
All three of A-State’s tournaments have included at least 13 teams, and the Red Wolves have finished among the top four squads every time out. Most recently, Arkansas State finished runner-up at the Bayou City Collegiate Classic with a 7-under 857 that was its lowest three-round score since recording an 852 at the Bob Sitton Invitational last season, a span of six tournaments.
Led by two players ranked among the top 220 in the nation by Golfstat, A-State is averaging 290.2 strokes per round and possesses a 73.60 individual stroke average for all players combined. The only Sun Belt Conference team ranked higher than the Red Wolves is Georgia Southern at No. 33.
Senior Tanner Napier is ranked No. 216 by Golfstat, as well as No. 205 by Golfweek. The Paris, Texas, native posted a 4-under 212 (69-71-72) at the Bayou City Collegiate Classic, placing him tied for fifth place out of 84 players. He collected his second straight top-five finish and has now placed among the top 25 in all three outings this season. The All-Sun Belt Conference performer holds a team-best 72.33 stroke average.
Junior Joel Wendin, also an All-Sun Belt pick in the past, has compiled a 72.77 stroke average and is currently listed as the No. 220 player in the nation by Golfstat. From Gavle, Sweden, he has collected two top-10 finishes, including a season-best tied for fifth place at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate.
A junior from Vrchlabi, Czech Republic, Jakub Bares has competed in A-State’s last two tournaments with his best outing at the Memphis Intercollegiate, where he tied for 11th place with a 54-hole 217. An A-State newcomer for the 2017-18 season, he is currently ranked third on the team with a 72.83 average.
Junior Trent Jones (Jonesboro, Ark.) and sophomore Zan Luka Stirn (Kranj, Slovenia), who played as an individual in an NCAA Regional Tournament last season, have both seen action in all three tournaments this season. They hold a 73.66 and 74.55 average, respectively, and have placed among the top 10 players in at least one tournament this season.
Senior Andrew Huseman, a 2015-16 Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference selection, is the only other A-State player to see action this year. The Ankeny, Iowa, native played in Arkansas State’s season-opening tournament, the Wolf Run Intercollegiate.
The Red Wolves return to action Oct. 24-25 at the Little Rock Intercollegiate.