Men's spring preview: Southland Conference
During the month of January, Golfweek will preview the spring season for each conference. Today, we look at the Southland Conference:
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5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Top of the class: Southeastern Louisiana
• Player to watch: Grady Brame, Southeastern Louisiana: Brame is the No. 55 player in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, thanks to his sub-71 scoring average in the fall.
• Freshman to watch: Hampus Bergman, McNeese State: Part of the driving force behind the Cowboys turnaround is Bergman, who posted two top 10s in his first four collegiate events.
• Conference championship: April 21-23, Stonebridge Ranch CC, McKinney, Texas
• Past champions (since 2009): Southeastern Louisiana (2013), Lamar (2012), Texas-Arlington (2011), Southeastern Louisiana (2010), Lamar (2009)
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(Golfweek/Sagarin rank in parentheses)
- Southeastern Louisiana (44): The defending champs posted solid performances in the fall, finishing in the top 5 three times and winning once. The team lost Southland individual champ Rhys West, but junior Grady Brame stepped up to take his place in the fall. Brame posted medalist and runner-up performances in the fall, while owning a 70.92 scoring average. Several underclassmen posted solid falls behind Brame, including sophomore Lawrence Allan (73.67 scoring average).
- Central Arkansas (90): Central Arkansas’ roster is underclassmen heavy, but one of its two upperclassmen is Southland Conference Golfer of the Year Pep Angles. The junior played individually at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional and posted a 71 scoring average in the fall. Angles played his way to a No. 77 spot in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. The team finished the fall stretch with a win at the Bill Ross Intercollegiate and a fourth-place finish at the Jim Rivers Intercollegiate.
- Lamar (92): Lamar jumped out to a hot start of the year with a runner-up finish at the Wolverine Intercollegiate. The Cardinals did not post a top 5 following the Wolverine Invitational, but faced some stiff competition in the fall. The team returns Greg Wiggins, who posted a top-5 finish at the Southland Conference Championship last year, along with upperclassmen Gustaf Burenstam and Stephane Dubois.
- McNeese State (139): McNeese State had a busy fall, playing six tournaments. The team showed a nice turnaround from last year’s last-place finish at the Southland Conference Championship with four top 5s. The Cowboys relied heavily on underclassmen in the fall. Freshman Hampus Bergman was an asset for the team, notching two top 10s in his first four collegiate tournaments.
- Sam Houston State (154): The Bearkats won two events in the fall, the Jim Colbert Intercollegiate and the Harold Funston Invitational. Junior Zach Cabra led the team, taking medalist honors at the Jim Colbert Intercollegiate and Southland Golfer of the Month for September. Cabra posted a 69.7 scoring average in September.
- Houston Baptist (173): Houston Baptist heads to the Southland Conference as the reigning America Sky champs. The team has talent as it makes its conference transition, with three players posting sub-75 scoring averages this fall. Preston Stanley led the team with a 72.33 scoring average and won the Mark Simpson Colorado Invitational, and the team took two top 5s as a whole.
- Nicholls State (211): Nicholls State did not finish in the top 5 in any of its three fall tournament. The team finished in 7th of eight teams at last year’s Southland Conference Championship. The Colonels have four upperclassmen on roster this spring.
- Stephen F. Austin (215): Stephen F. Austin posted one top 5 in the fall – a fourth-place showing at conference-opponent Sam Houston State’s tournament. The Lumberjacks lost their top player in terms of scoring average from last year, Mitchell McLeroy and have no seniors on roster. The team just missed out on the top 3 at last year’s Southland Conference Championship last year, finishing in fourth.
- Oral Roberts (231): Oral Roberts heads into the spring season with seven upperclassmen. The team will look to improve upon its sixth-place finish at last year’s Southland Conference Championship. The team’s top finish this fall was a third-place showing at the Harold Funston Golf Invitational.
- Abilene Christian (235): Abilene Christian nabbed three top 5s in the fall as it transitioned to Southland Conference Golf. Junior Corbin Renner led the team in the fall with a 71.1 scoring average. Renner also posted two top 5s in the fall, including a win at the Charles Coody West Texas Intercollegiate. Three of the team’s top five players in terms of scoring average this fall were freshmen.
- New Orleans (242): New Orleans enters the Southland Conference behind four seniors, including Louisiana Newcomer of the Year Bryan Odaiyar. The team did not post a top 5 in three fall tournaments, and none of its players posted a top 10 individually.
- Incarnate Word (246): Incarnate Word finished its fall stretch with top-5 finishes at the Territory Classic and the Classic at the Tribute. Sophomore Austin Wylie led the team at the Territory Classic with a T-3 finish. Incarnate Word played its golf in the Division II Lone Star Conference last season.