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Bulldog golf wins C-USA title

May 5, 2016

KERRY WAGUESPACK

Staff Reporter | kfw005@latech.edu

 

Louisiana Tech celebrates after clinching the 2016 Conference USA Championship with a 3-2 win over No. 1 seed and 38th-ranked UAB. The win marked Louisiana Tech’s first conference championship in golf since 1980. Photo courtesy of Patrick Walsh/LA Tech Communications

Louisiana Tech celebrates after clinching the 2016 Conference USA Championship with a 3-2 win over No. 1 seed and 38th-ranked UAB. The win marked Louisiana Tech’s first conference championship in golf since 1980. Photo courtesy of Patrick Walsh/LA Tech Communications

 

The Bulldog golf team won the Conference USA championship after upsetting No. 38 University of Alabama Birmingham in a 3-2 match which featured remarkable play by the whole team.

 

 

Senior Ben Robinson rolled in the match-clinching putt from 15 feet to take the tournament.

 

 

Robinson’s first putt of 50 feet on the final hole came up short, but his opponent, Martin Rowher, missed his putt, allowing Robinson one more chance at winning the match.

 

 

“I remember thinking that if I made the putt then I wanted to maintain my composure to show respect for UAB because they are such a great team,” Robinson said. “But once the ball dropped, I couldn’t contain my excitement and I was immediately tackled by the rest of the team.”

 

 

Rowher did not make it easy for Robinson. Robinson was up three through 12 holes, but Rowher won two of the next four holes to pull within one hole with two to play.

 

 

The Bulldogs were not in the best position after their first two matches, but the team rallied to win three consecutive matchups to secure the first title for the program since 1980.

 

 

One of the most remarkable comebacks of the day came from freshman Jacob Wyatt who found himself down three holes with four to play.

 

 

He then won his final four holes of the day which set up the showdown in the final match.

 

 

“Nobody believed we were able to do this except for us, when the putt went in UAB was shocked and it was one of the most unbelievable moments of our lives,” Wyatt said.

 

 

In his second season with the program, head coach Jeff Jenkins motivated his team by preaching confidence before the week started.

 

 

“It was going to take a lot of great golf and some breaks, but I thought leading into the week we had a great chance,” Jenkins said.

 

 

He said if the team was going to have a chance, they were going to believe they could compete and play with anyone in the field.

 

 

“As the week progressed, shooting a good score in round one of stroke play and each day progressing forward, I think the belief level increased more and more,” Jenkins said.

 

 

Senior Victor Lange, who got the Bulldogs into the championship match after two playoff holes in the semifinal round versus North Texas, had to finish his semifinal round the morning of the championship. After playing 20 holes in the semifinal, Lange only needed 16 holes to win his match in the championship match.  Lange was named to the C-USA All-Tournament Team after he finished 54 holes of stroke play tied for the individual lead at 7-under-par 209.  This is Lange’s third postseason appearance but it will be the first time his team is there to experience it with him. The Bulldogs now wait to find out their postseason fate. The team knows they are guaranteed a spot in the postseason, but they do not know where they will be traveling or what seed they will earn. The team will end up in one of the six regional host sites: Albuquerque, Kohler, Nashville, Stillwater, Tuscaloosa or Tucson.

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