Dustin Garza just keeps winning.
The Wichita State senior notched his seventh victory of the 2009-10 season Tueday en route to leading the Shockers to their third straight the Missouri Valley Conference title.
Garza shot rounds of 78-75-70 to finish at 13-over 223 at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan., and top teammate Anders Engell (74) and Drake’s Brad Reierson (74) by four shots. It Garza’s second MVC victory in a row.
Strong wind blew throughout Rounds 1 and 2 making scoring conditions extremely difficult.
“I struggled all week and just stayed patient,” Garza told Golfweek on Tuesday. “It was blowing just under 45 mph out there which made the course impossible at times. Balls were rolling off the greens.”
Wichita State, No. 65 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, posted a tournament-best 298 in the final round, the only sub-300 score during the championship, to finish at 82-over 922. No. 217 Southern Illionis (308) was second at 933 and No. 104 Illinois State (303) was third at 944.
Garza, who leads the nation in victories, was left off the 10-player Ben Hogan Award semifinalist list last week. He said the snub hasn’t played a role in motivation, however.
“I just wanted to prove to myself I can win,” Garza told Golfweek. “Besides, I’d much rather win a regional or national championship.”
Garza is Wichita State’s only senior in the starting lineup. In addition to sophomore Engell’s runner-up performance, freshmen Hunter Sparks tied for eighth, Tyler Gann tied for 20th and Rafael Becker tied for 27th.
“It was great to see the guys go out and do what they did,” said Garza, No. 10 in Golfweek’s rankings. “They are a bunch of young guys, who are now looking forward to competing at a regional.”
NCAA regional bids will be announced May 10 for play May 20-22 at six sites: Alpharetta, Ga.; Bryan, Texas; New Haven, Conn.; Notre Dame, Ind.; Santee, Calif.; and Bremerton, Wash.
The NCAA Championship is June 1-6 at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tenn.