The Houston Baptist University men’s golf squad, making their first appearance in an NCAA tournament since 1988, got a heavy dose of the SEC in Baton Rouge over the weekend.
Now they can commiserate with the rest of college sports’ fandom.
The HBU Huskies finished 13th, while the Southeastern Conference claimed the top four spots and berths in the NCAA championship, at the NCAA regional held at LSU’s 7,436-yard, par-72 University Club on Saturday.
Alabama, the overall No. 2 seed in the tournament, captured the team title by six strokes over Florida with a total of 868. The Crimson Tide scored 282 in the final round to overtake the Gators, who shot 296 and finished at 874.
LSU took third at 890 and Tennessee was fourth with a three-day total of 892.
Coastal Carolina earned the fifth and final berth into the championship round, scheduled for May 28 through June 2 in Atlanta, at 894, only two strokes ahead of Houston and South Alabama.
HBU finished with a total of 933, including a final-round team score of 309 to complete a historic year for the Huskies’ golf program.
The squad earned the HBU athletic department’s first automatic bid to an NCAA postseason tournament for the first time since returning to Division I competition in 2007 by winning the America Sky Conference title.
Alabama’s Scott Strohmeyer fired a final-round 69 to win the individual crown with a total of 4-under-par 212, two strokes ahead of teammate Bobby Wyatt and three strokes ahead of Florida’s Tyler McCumber and TJ Vogel.
South Alabama’s Tyler Klava clinched a spot in the individual championship as the top golfer not on a qualifying team, by tying for sixth.
Among the Huskies’ team on Saturday, sophomore Andy Ariens shot a 77 to finish in a tie for 48th place (232) to lead the squad. Sophomore Preston Stanley posted a final-round 78 (235, 58th).
Senior Hudson Hansard had the low round of the day for HBU in the final round with his second straight 76 to tie for 59th at 236.
Sophomores Brandon Wilhide carded an 81 (238, tie-63rd) and Jeffrey Merrell shot a 78 (240, tie-69th) to round out the day and season for the Huskies.
The four SEC schools from the Baton Rouge regional were among nine conference squads that qualified for the national tournament, along with Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas A&M.
The nine SEC teams will join 21 other schools in the national championship. Included in the field is No. 1-ranked California, along with other Texas schools TCU, Texas and Texas Tech.
The championship will be held at The Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course in Atlanta and hosted by Georgia Tech. All teams will compete in stroke play through 54 holes before the top eight teams are paired off in match-play elimination rounds over the final three days.