Men's golf earns two runner-up finishes in Louisiana Classics


Sports Reporter

The Texas State men’s golf team held its own against the No. 1 team in the country, Illinois, in the Louisiana Classics.

The team placed second behind Illinois with a final score of 867. The Bobcats lead the Sun Belt Conference, averaging a record of 290.4 in seven tournaments this year.

“The guys dug deep and played some of the best golf I’ve seen since I’ve been associated with Texas State golf,” said Coach Shane Howell. “I think this was big for our confidence. We knew we were a good team and trending in the right direction, but we needed something to certify that. This week’s performance does that.”

Tyler Saunders, freshman, finished second individually with 209, claiming his second straight top-two finish after winning the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate last week. Saunders was named the Sun Belt Conference Golfer of the Month for his performance.

Building off his success, Saunders totaled five straight birdies in the second round. He followed with five more birdies in the third, including two straight in the eighth and nine holes.

Saunders finished the third round with a score of 69 as the No. 1 player of the day.

“I felt like last week was the start of something,” Saunders said. “Hopefully I can build off that as well. The next step is getting my short game really good.”

Torbjorn Johansen and Justin Newby, juniors, joined Saunders on the individual leaderboard.

Johansen had 10 birdies in the tournament, putting him in a tie for eighth overall. The top-10 finish was Johansen’s first since the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate in November.

Newby is recovering his form after breaking school records last fall. He finished at 16-under-200 in the UTEP tournament.

Newby stood out in the second round. He tallied seven birdies in the round, going back to back on the second and third and the seventh and eighth holes.

Howell said the Bobcats’ accomplishments were a full-team effort.

Texas State has nine days off before the team travels for the Border Olympics in Houston.

“We just have to continue to work hard and keep getting better,” Howell said. “(If) we keep doing that, we will keep getting good results.”

Follow Kierra Lewis on Twitter @Kierra_Arnae