Oct. 2, 2012
CHOUDRANT, La. - The Owl duo of sophomore Joe Beck III and Jeff Wibawa carded final round scores of 71 and 72, respectively, to lead the Rice golf team to a season-best ninth place finish at the Jim Rivers Intercollegiate tournament Tuesday afternoon in Choudrant, La.
Rice posted a team score of 10-over par 298 for Tuesday's final 18 holes. The Owls finished the two-day event with a 28-over par 892, 23 shots back of tournament champion Central Arkansas (869, +5). The Blue & Gray was just nine strokes away (over a three-round total of 54 holes) from a top five finish.
Wibawa was three-over par heading into his final three holes at the 7,100-yard Squire Creek Golf Course and birdied all three to close out the day with an even-round 72. The junior from Encino, Calif., moved up into a season-best tie for seventh place among a field of 75 players on the individual leaderboard. He finished nine shots behind Louisiana Tech individual champion Travis Wilmore (206, -10).
Right behind Beck III in the standings was Owl teammate Landon Michelson, who was one stroke back to tie for 37th (227, +11). Freshman James Lee shot a 76 Tuesday for a 234 (+18, tied 51st). Senior vBrandon Burke counted his 79 towards the team score for a 60th place finish in his NCAA debut. Junior James Hiester was 68th (246, +30) playing as an individual in his first outing of the season.
"We didn't play our best today, but it was good enough to pass some teams late in the round," said Rice head coach Justin Emil. "Jeff got a top ten this week and it was good to have him back in the lineup. I am encouraged by our progress over the last three tournaments. This group keeps getting better and I have no doubt they are due for a strong finish real soon."
The Owls have two more tournament's remaining on the Fall portion of the schedule. Rice golf returns to action on Oct. 14-16 at the annual Lone Star Invitational in San Antonio. Wibawa is the defending individual champion of the event after shooting a seven-under par 209 at the Briggs Ranch Golf Club last season as a sophomore.
The full team and individual scores from the Jim Rivers Intercollegiate are available at the above link.