Notebook: Miss. St. wins again, eyes home tourney
Is it possible to make a good deal of noise - quietly?
It is if you are the Mississippi State men’s golf team. That’s pretty much what the Bulldogs have been doing this season - having success while flying under most radar screens.
Going into its most recent tournament earlier this week, Mississippi State was No. 32 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings. Look for that to improve after the Bulldogs rolled to a 15-shot victory April 2 in the Bancorp South Intercollegiate.
It was their third win of the season, to go along with those at Bridgestone to end the fall campaign and the Tiger Invitational this spring.
Mississippi State has yet to finish outside the top 10 in its 10 starts and has eight top-5 showings. After the Bulldogs opened the season with a 10th-place finish - their worst of the season - they tied for fourth at Mobile Bay, won the Tiger, tied for second at the Seminole and won Bancorp.
In its latest triumph, Mississippi State shot 18-under 846 to easily outdistance Central Arkansas (861) in the 14-team field. It raised its overall record to 96-26-1, easily guaranteeing consideration for an NCAA post-season bid under the .500 rule.
“It was another great win for our program and gave us some great momentum as we head toward postseason play,” said Clay Homan, now in his 10th season coaching the Bulldogs. “It’s really fun to watch these young men and their development. What’s more encouraging is that they are not even playing to their full potential. I know they feel like they left plenty of shots out there and they know they can do even better. We are playing good team golf right now, and everyone is doing their part to contribute.”
At the Bancorp South, Mississippi State had three players place in the top 10 and all five finish within the top 32.
Juniors Joe Sakulpolphaisan of Thailand and Axel Boasson of Iceland tied for third at 7-under 209, while junior Chad Ramey, of Fulton, Miss., placed eighth at 3-under 213.
Senior Robi Calvesbert of Puerto Rico tied for 19th while junior Barrett Edens of Okolona, Miss., tied for 32nd.
For Ramey, who won the Tiger, it was his seventh top 10 of the season. Boasson and Sakulpolphaisan have four top-10 finishes apiece.
The third team win is the most for the Bulldogs since the 1998-99 season. For Homan, it was his 10th win as head coach, the most in MSU history.
What was most impressive to Homan at the Bancorp was the opening day’s first 36 holes, in which the Bulldogs shot 16 under for two rounds and grabbed a 14-shot lead.
Concerning those two rounds, Homan said the Bulldogs did “what good teams do . . . We did a nice job of bouncing back after a little adversity and stayed the course. Robi made a 7 on a par 3 during the middle of his round, but made four birdies to finish at even. Barrett opened up with an 80, but put it behind him and came back with a 69. Joe was 2 over through 10 holes and played his last eight holes at 6 under par. That kind of effort is what I’m most proud of these guys for. Then Chad and Axel did what they’ve done all year, being consistently good.”
The last time the Bulldogs won four tournaments in a season was 1974-75. They’ll have a chance to match that when they host the first home event in the program’s history, April 8-9 at Old Waverly Golf Club.
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How ‘bout dem Govs? Austin Peay State is enjoying one of its best seasons in a number of years. The Governors have posted five victories thus far, including tournament titles in their last two starts. After one of its biggest wins in school history, at the Memphis Intercollegiate, Austin Peay came right back and won the Arkansas State Red Wolf event April 2. The Govs shot 5-over 857 to outdistance Samford by 15 shots, with Anthony Bradley leading the way as medalist at 4-under 209.
The Govs were No. 95 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings going into Red Wolf. Overall, they own a 77-10-3 record, but their schedule strength of field is not overwhelming. While they have yet to go up against a top-25 team, they are 3-0 vs. top 50 and 6-4 vs. top 100.
Still, it appears in order to land an NCAA postseason invitation, they are going to need to win their Ohio Valley Conference title. And that is certainly not out of the question.
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Petrels still flying high: Led by sophomore medalist Anthony Maccaglia, Oglethorpe shot a tournament-best 4-under 284 April 2 to overtake Methodist and win the Emory Spring Invitational by seven strokes, finishing at 5-under 571.
The Stormy Petrels trailed Methodist by two strokes going into the final round at Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta. Their closing total was six shots better than any other team that day.
Oglethorpe, located in Atlanta, has won five tournaments this season, including three this spring, and is ranked No. 1 in Division III, according to the latest coaches’ poll, just ahead of Methodist.
The Stormy Petrels are the defending NCAA Division III champs and have won that title twice in the last four years under head coach Jim Owen.
So now you might be asking, what is a Petrel? It’s a type of tube-nosed seabird. Funny, I never thought of Atlanta as being a city by the seaside!