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Men’s golf unable to repeat as C-USA champions after stroke-play playoff

Men’s golf unable to repeat as C-USA champions after stroke-play playoff

Denton, TX - OCTOBER 21: University of North Texas Mean Green Men's Golf Team media day at Denton Country Club in Denton on October 21, 2015 in Denton, Texas. Photo by: Rick Yeatts

Men’s golf unable to repeat as C-USA champions after stroke-play playoff
April 27
21:50 2016

Austin Jackson | Staff Writer

@a_jack17

North Texas freshman Ian Snyman and the youthful Mean Green men’s golf team put on a dogged title defense at the Conference USA Championship in Texarkana, Texas. North Texas clawed from behind to take eventual champion Louisiana Tech University to two-hole playoff before falling 3-2 in match play Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the match play semi-final between North Texas and Louisiana Tech was postponed due to severe weather, leaving the team playing into dusk before play was called due to darkness.The Mean Green slept on a 2-3 deficit with their C-USA Championship belt on the line.

Snyman awoke one hole down with just one left to play against fellow South African Victor Lange, the 2014-15 C-USA Golfer of the Year. On the final hole of regulation play, the freshman bunkered down and sank a crucial par putt to draw even with Lange, bringing the back-and-forth matchup to a playoff.

Snyman and Lange both parred the 19th hole, but Lange dealt the defending C-USA champions the knockout blow after sinking a match-sealing birdie putt on the second playoff hole.

In three rounds of stroke-play, Snyman was vital to sealing a spot in the semifinal, improving in each round before posting a two-under 70 to finish tied for sixth place. The finish is Snyman’s fourth top-10 of his freshman year.

The Mean Green as a team posted a three-under par 285 to improve its match play seeding from fourth to third place to close out stroke-play. While disappointed in the final result, head coach Brad Stracke the team played well, praising the play of Snyman, freshman Thomas Rosenmueller and junior Cory Churchman.

“Overall the team played well,” Stracke said. “We had an exceptional final round to get us into match play.  I felt like we had our chances to win and let it slip through our hands.”

Snyman and Rosenmueller proved the Mean Green would be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. Rosenmuller led North Texas with a third place finish in stroke-play before going wire-to-wire to defeat Louisiana Tech freshman Jacob Wyatt 2-1 in match play.

Rosenmueller played well throughout the tournament, improving on his first round 73 by going five-under through his final 36 holes to claim his third podium finish and fourth top-10 of his freshman season. Rosenmueller’s 13 birdies in stroke-play tied University of Alabama at Birmingham sophomore Taylor Eyster for most birdies of the tournament.

Sophomore Michael Cotton proved his postseason pedigree once again, improving his unblemished match play record to 3-0. Cotton never trailed Louisiana tech senior Chuck Spears, winning 2-1. In stroke-play Cotton finished tied for 29th place after bookending a second round 78 with a pair of 74s.

After finishing tied for ninth place in stroke-play, junior team captain Cory Churchman carried a one-stroke lead through 13 holes in match play, but was out-dueled down the stretch by Louisiana Tech senior Ben Robinson. Churchman’s bogeys on the 14th and 16th resulted in a two-point swing for Louisiana Tech.

Junior Alejandro Villasana finished tied for 60th in stroke-play after following his first round 75 with consecutive rounds in the 80s. Louisiana Tech sophomore Luke Neeley never trailed Villasana in match play, winning the match 3-2.

Although the Mean Green will have to wait a year to reclaim its position atop C-USA, its strong play throughout the season will most likely earn it a spot in the NCAA regional to contend for a NCAA Championship.

“I know the team is ready for Regionals and I am excited to see where we will go,” Stracke said.

The Mean Green entered the C-USA Championship ranked No. 61 in the nation. If the ranking holds, it will get to take its talents to the NCAA Regional May 16-18. The selection show will announce the participants and locations live Thursday, May 5 on the Golf Channel.

North Texas Daily staff writer Brady Keane contributed to this report. 

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