TU parlayed its best round in the NAIA Golf Tournament – including a resilient final four holes – into a 12th place finish on Saturday, up from a spot from where it started the day at, and just five strokes from a top ten finish.
The Night Hawks shot a 295 during the final round of the national tournament at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla., down from the 300 and 297 it shot in rounds one and two, respectively.
TU coach Peter Ireland attributed the Night Hawks’ consistent improvement from their ability to “learn from mistakes.”
“Our guys had the ability all year long to apply things they learned in previous rounds and use it to their advantage,” he said. “It shows a lot of maturity.”
Ireland added that he believed the Night Hawks could’ve further climbed the leaderboard had Thursday’s second round not been scratched due to rain, leaving the tournament decision to just 54 holes.
“Just having one more round with the way we were trending, we could’ve moved up a few more spaces,” Ireland said. “But [the rain] affected everyone – we just had to go with it.”
Ireland said TU’s “highlight” of the tournament was the final four holes, which saw TU’s five golfers – Sam Jackson, Stone Cowie, James Fletcher, Alex Kitsos and Jake Schoonover – shoot a collated four-under par to secure the 12th place finish.
“The hardest thing to do in tournament golf if finish out tournament rounds, and we did that extremely well,” the coach said. “They really gutted out a rock solid round from [the final four holes].
TU finished ahead of 17 other teams through the three-round event, which it qualified for by winning the Sun Conference Tournament last month.
The Night Hawks’ apperance at the NAIA Touranment was its first in the 12 year history of the program.