Sept. 11, 2012
Joe Beck III and freshman James Lee both tied for 29th in the individual standings to pace the Owls' golf team to a 14th place finish after Tuesday's final round of action at the tenth annual Sam Hall Intercollegiate in Hattiesburg, Miss.
On Tuesday Beck III shot a team-best final round total of two-over par 73. The Austin, Tex., native moved up three spots in the final individual standings to close out the 54-hole tournament with a four-over par stroke total of 217. He was joined in a tie for 29th place among the field of 87 golfers by teammate James Lee, a true freshman competing for the Owls in his first Division I tournament. Lee followed steady rounds of 72 and 71 in his college debut with a three-over par 74 (217) on Tuesday.
Rice junior transfer Landon Michelson also moved up three spots on the individual leaderboard by improving his scores over each round. A native of Miami, Fla., who joined the Owls this season from Birmingham Southern College, Michelson shot a 74 Tuesday after 79 and 77 on Monday's 36 holes. He carded a three-round total of 230 that is 17-strokes over par. Junior Jeff Wibawa shot a 78 in the final round for a 54-hole total 225 (+12). Brock Wilson, the lone senior on the young Owl squad, shot 79 Tuesday to finish with a 16-over par 229. True freshman Trey Johnson competed as an individual at the event and closed out the Rice scores with an 86 for 238 stroke total (+25).
As a team the Owls posted a score of 299 for a final composite stroke total of 883 (+31). Rice was 38 shots off the lead of tournament winner Mississippi (845, -7), the No. 58 ranked college team in the country. Mississippi State finished a shot off the lead for second place (846, -6) while South Alabama was able to move into third (850, -6).
Note that Rice's final total was a five-shot improvement from the score the Blue & Gray recorded while opening last season at the same venue one year ago. Owl head coach Justin Emil focused on the positives, particularly the play of Lee and Beck III.
"We did a lot of good things at this tournament and it's something we can build on," coach Emil said. "I am really proud of James and Joe. They battled out there for 54 holes. They will be able to carry the experience of this tournament forward. We did have some tough holes today, but I am certain the team will be anxious to get out and compete in our next tournament in Tennessee."
The Rice golf team next returns to action at the Mason Rudolph Championship in Franklin, Tenn., on Sept. 21-23. The 54-hole event features a host of high-caliber teams and is hosted by Vanderbilt University.