Sept. 10, 2013
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Following a strong start in Monday’s opening two rounds, Rice University men’s golf concluded the season opener in a tie for 11th place at the Sam H. Hall Intercollegiate on Tuesday. The Owls carded a 285-287-294—866 (+14) to finish with the program’s best 54-hole total in more than two seasons.
Head coach Justin Emil said, “The course had a tougher setup today, which exposed some of our weaknesses. We know what we need to work on this week with a quick turnaround heading to Colorado State on Saturday. I was encouraged by our first two rounds and saw some shades of greatness today. We will need to be ready to compete again soon.”
Senior Landon Michelson paced the squad with a 71-70-72—213 (E) to finish 23rd overall in the 87-golfer field. Hi 12 birdies tied for 14th overall and were the most of any of the Owls in competition. His 54-hole total was his lowest as an Owl, topping his previous mark of 220 that he set twice last season.
Kevin Reilly came down just a touch from his stellar collegiate debut on Monday to finish in 35th place at 69-71-76—216 (+3) at the Hattiesburg Country Club. The freshman’s opening round 69 was the lowest by a Rice player at the event, while four of his eight birdies came in the second round.
Junior Joe Beck III improved in each round to replicate the success he had at last season’s Sam Hall Intercollegiate, notching a 77-73-72—222 (+9), good for a tie in 58th place. All six of his birdies came over the final 36 holes.
A second newcomer made a strong impression as well, as Alex Levy fired a 72-73-79—224 (+11) in his first action for the Blue and Gray. Sophomore James Lee rounded out the squad in 82nd place with a 73-82-74—229 (+16). All three of his birdies at the tournament came on par-five holes.
Competing as an individual, sophomore Trey Johnson posted career bests in both single-round score (72) and 54-hole total (222). He notched a 75-72-75—222 (+9) to tie Beck for 58th place overall with eight birdies.
Louisiana-Lafayette claimed victory by one stroke over Mississippi State with a 54-hole score of 837, the second lowest in tournament history. MSU’s Joe Sakulpolphaisan earned the individual medal by two strokes and tied the tournament record with a 199.
Host Southern Miss made a run on Tuesday to claim sixth place at 848 (-4) and fellow Conference USA member UTSA took home eighth place with an 856 (+4). Rice finished even with Arkansas State, and a mere six strokes behind 10th-place Sam Houston State.
The Owls will look to build on the early success next week at Colorado State’s Ram Masters Invitational in Fort Collins. The tournament opens with 36 holes on Monday, Sept. 17 and concludes with the final round the following morning.