April 24, 2013
McKINNEY - Lamar University closed out the 50th Southland Conference Golf Championship on Wednesday with its best score of the tournament but it was not enough to win the title for the second straight year.
The Cardinals, who have won 24 Southland Conference titles in men's golf, were looking for their second straight team title and ninth in the last 13 years. No other Southland Conference school has won more than four titles in the sport.
Lamar began the final day in fourth place after posting team totals of 307 and 315 over the first two rounds on the par-72, 7,346-yard Stonebridge Ranch Country Club. The Cardinals closed with a 9-over-par 297 to finish with a 54-hole score of 919 (+55) and easily pass Stephen F. Austin (932) which began the day in third.
Southeastern Louisiana shot the round of the tournament Wednesday with an even-par 288 to win the championship at 29-over-par 893. Central Arkansas placed second at 906 (+42), one year after losing to the Cardinals in a playoff for the team title.
Sam Houston State finished fifth at 940, with Oral Roberts (943), Nicholls (948) and McNeese State (952) rounding out the field. SLU will earn the conference's automatic NCAA Tournament berth.
While Lamar finished a disappointing third, the future looks bright as freshman Greg Wiggins led the Cardinals with a tie for fourth place in his first conference tournament. Wiggins carded rounds of 77-75-74 to finish with a 10-over-par total of 226.
Wiggins was putting together an impressive final round, heading into the last two holes at even par. The native German birdied the par-5 third hole and fell back to level par after a bogey on the par-4 sixth. He would then run off 10 straight pars before suffering a double-bogey on the par-3 17th hole.
Senior Erik Knudsen joined Wiggins with a top 10 finish, placing eighth with a 228 total (+12). Knudsen, who was the lone returnee off last year's conference championship team, closed the tournament with a 75 after opening with scores of 74 and 79.
Like Wiggins, Knudsen headed into the final two holes at even-par before stumbling late. Knudsen, who made the turn at 2-over-par, picked up birdies at the 14th and 16 holes before closing with a bogey on 17 and a double bogey on the last hole.
SLU's Rhys West took home individual medalist honors with a 54-hole score of 220 (+4). West closed the tournament with a 1-under-par 71 to hold off Pep Angles of UCA who finished second at 222 (+6). The Lions' Eamon Bradley finished third at 225 (+9) as SLU's top four golfers all finished in the top seven.
Junior Stephane Dubois had one of the biggest moves up the leaderboard on the final day as he finished 11th after starting the round tied for 18th place. Dubois led the Cardinals with a final round 73 to finish at 14-over-par 230.
Dubois, who posted scores of 78 and 79 in the first two rounds, recorded two birdies and three bogeys on Wednesday. The Wisconsin transfer finished his first Southland Conference Tournament with five birdies over three rounds.
Senior Marc Dobias, who transferred to Lamar from VCU for his final season, tied for 21st place in the 40-man field. After registering rounds of 80 and 82, Dobias closed with a solid 75 for a 21-over-par total of 237.
Dobias bogeyed the first hole of the day, but got back to even with a birdie on the par-5 seventh. Unfortunately, he would take a double bogey on the ninth hole to make the turn at 2-over-par. Dobias posted eight pars on the back nine with his only blemish being a bogey on the par-4 14th hole.
Sophomore Gustaf Burenstam was the Cards' fifth finisher, tying for 32nd place at 28-over-par 244. Burenstam, who led the Cardinals with six birdies on the week, opened the tournament with a 78 before posting back-to-back 83s.
Lamar, which began the tournament ranked 86th in the country by Golfstat, will now have to wait and see if it receives an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals have advanced to NCAA regional play in 11 of the last 12 seasons, including a 25th place showing at last year's national tournament.