Repeat is just as sweet.
McNeese's men's golf team successfully defended its Southland Conference title on Wednesday afternoon, when after being delayed by early storms then fighting against a brisk northerly wind, the Cowboys won their second-straight league title by a four-stroke margin over Stephen F. Austin.
The Cowboys earn the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Regionals for the second year in-a-row as they'll be making their third-consecutive postseason appearance.
McNeese held a 12-stroke lead with six holes remaining but no lead was comfortable with the playing conditions as the lead trimmed to six with three holes to play. A birdie on No. 16 by Andreas Krokeide in addition to pars on 16 and 17 by Duncan McNeill and Daniel O'Loughlin helped seal the win for the Cowboys.
"It was a total team effort all week," said head coach Austin Burk who has coached the Cowboys to back-to-back conference championships for just the second time in school history and first since 1977-79 when McNeese won three consecutive titles. "I'm worn out. I know the guys are. The conditions this week could not have been any tougher."
McNeill led the Cowboys on the final day with a 76 while Blake Elliott was the top Cowboy finisher for the tournament in a tie for fifth place with a three-round total of 228.
"Blake stepped up for us but everyone played a big part in this one," said Burk.
Ian Berrigan got off to a hot start on the day with birdies on two of the first three holes and finished with a 77, the second-best score on the day for McNeese. O'Loughlin finished with a 78, Krokeide a 79 and Elliott an 81.
"It's tough to win but even tougher to repeat," said Burk. "It shows the depth and fight these guys have."
SFA, who entered the day in fourth place, was in the clubhouse praying for a stumble by the Cowboys, but it never occurred. The Lumberjacks shot a 302 on the day and finished with a 922, edging out Sam Houston State by one stroke for the runner-up trophy.
Nicholls finished fourth with a 928 and Southeastern Louisiana in fifth place at 930. Central Arkansas and Houston Baptist tied for sixth at 938, Abilene Christian eighth with a 958, Incarnate Word (988) and New Orleans (989) in ninth and 10th place respectively.
Albert Badosa-Soler of Nicholls won on the sixth playoff hole to beat out Houston Baptist's Val Almendarez to win the individual medalist honor.
The title is the fifth for McNeese in school history, the second-most championships by any SLC team. Lamar holds the record with 24 team titles.
Final Team Results:
1, McNeese 302-306-310 – 918; 2, Stephen F. Austin 313-307-302 – 922; 3, Sam Houston State 307-314-302 – 923; 4, Nicholls 309-309-310 – 928; 5, Southeastern Louisiana 295-316-319 – 930; T6, Central Arkansas 316-312-310 – 938; T6, Houston Baptist 314-314-310 – 938; 8, Abilene Christian 325-323-310 – 958; 9, Incarnate Word 339-339-310 – 988; 10, New Orleans 330-337-332 – 989.
McNeese Individual Results
T5, Blake Elliott 76-71-81 – 228; T11, Andreas Krokeide 72-80-79 – 231; 15, Ian Berrigan 75-81-77 – 233; 19, Daniel O'Loughlin 83-74-78 – 235; T30, Duncan McNeill 79-85-76 – 240.
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