Sophomore Austin Smith tied for sixth place individually overall with a 2-over 218 as he led the No.23 Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys to a fourth place finish among the 18-team field at the 16th annual NSU Golf Classic at the Hillcrest Country Club in Bartlesville, Okla., on Sept. 23.
Tech finished tournament play 28- over with an 892 shot tally, only one stroke behind third place finisher No. 6 Central Missouri and seven shots back from first place Central Oklahoma.
“I was really excited to see us progress and rebound from our performance at the Brickyard Invitational,” head coach Luke Calcatera said. “We had a lot of our younger guys show leadership and play well at a golf course that has a lot in common with the Hot Springs Country Club where the conference championships will be in spring. Austin Smith has continually improved since he started as a freshman. He gets a little better with each event, and I expect to keep seeing a lot from him.”
Smith started off round one with an even-par 72 and followed up with a 69 and 77 on successive days, earning him his highest individual finish in his career.
Senior Alex Mahlik wrapped up play four shots behind Smith with a 6-over 222 shot tally, tying for twelfth individually with a tournament best 1-under 71 in round three.
Tech’s freshman D.J. Godoy found his way into third place for the Wonder Boys and tied for 17th individually overall. Godoy finished with an 8-over 224 shot total, with his low coming from an evenpar 72 on Monday’s opening round. Junior Brian Belz started off the opening round with a tournament best 2-over 74 and finished on Tuesday with a 13-over 229 total, tying for 37th individually.
Shooting a tournament low of 5-over 77 in round one, senior Jason Purdy finished at 19-over 235 as he tied for 59th overall individually.
First place Central Oklahoma’s Wesley Jackson tied for first individually with matching 2-under 70s on the first and last rounds of play, finishing with a 2-under 214.
“We’ve proven we have the ability to beat top teams like Central Missouri and central Oklahoma by leading tournaments going in to the final round,” Calcatera said. “Now we have to be able to finish strong and maintain that lead.”
Tech will take a few weeks off from tournament play and then finish its fall season at the Missouri Western Central Region Invitational on Oct. 13-14.
Seniors Megan Jeffery and Rebecka Surteval led the No. 18 Arkansas Tech Golden Suns, each with an 8-over 152 stroke total, tying for fifth individually and boosting Tech to a third place finish overall at the UIndy Fall Invitational at Heartland Crossing Golf Linx on Sept. 22.
Because, in part, of inclement weather on day one, the Golden Suns were able to improve their game by 15 strokes on the second day, going from a 322 shot total in round one to a 307 tally on the last day of play.
“I thought we played well the first day considering the conditions—it was very windy,” head coach Amy Anderson said.
“On day two we played well, however, we made up no ground and ended up losing second place by four strokes to a team only ahead by one going in to the final round. So I feel like we lost a little bit there, but it was an overall good performance.”
Tech finished the two-round, 18-team tournament with 629 strokes, four shots behind second place California-PA and nine shots back from first place No. 8 Indianapolis.
Jeffery shot a 5-over 77 and a 3-over 75 in the first and second rounds, while Surteval penciled in a 75 and 77 on respective days.
Senior Taylor Kline shot a team low of 2-over 74 in round two, improving from an 11-over 83 on day one. Kline finished with a 13-over 157 shot tally and tied for 13th individually overall.
Tying for 39th individually, Caroline Fredensborg shot a 15-over 87 in the first round and a 9-over 81 in the second, giving the sophomore a 24-over 168 shot total for the tournament.
Freshman Alexandra Muhl finished with a 31-over 175 total, shooting a 15-over 87 and 16-over 88 in successive rounds and tying for 67th individually overall.
Indianapolis’ Annika Haynes placed first overall with a 5-over 149 shot total on 76 and 73 daily scores.
“I want my team to be a boring golf team,” Anderson said. “I want us to hit ball in middle of fairway, hit the ball on the green, two putt and leave. We need to work on not being fancy, being simple and hitting the simple shot.”
The Golden Suns will continue the fall season at the Golfweek Invitational in Sunriver, Okla., on Saturday.