Oklahoma City University wins their eighth NAIA National title -- photo NAIA
SALEM, Ore. – No. 1-ranked Oklahoma City picked up its eighth national title in 11 years Friday with a come-from-behind win at the 61st annual NAIA Men’s Golf National Championships presented by FORE! Salem at Creekside Golf Club.
The Stars began the day in third place before registering a combined score of 7-over 295 en route to posting a tournament-low 24-over 1,176 (297-298-286-295). Oklahoma City has brought home the national tournament banner in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, and this year despite tying for the second highest winning score this season during the Stars’ tremendous run over the past 11 seasons.
“The feeling right now is pretty indescribable,” said Kyle Blaser, Oklahoma City head coach. “I’m so happy for our guys, they played so well. The 18th hole has kicked us pretty hard, but today I believe we played it even par. I was just so happy that we finished the tournament. I’m so proud of our three seniors, what a way to go out.”
In a battle of the two top ranked teams in the NAIA, Oklahoma City and Oklahoma Christian took the team title down to the final three holes with OCU earning a tournament-clinching birdie on the 16th hole in the last group before playing Nos. 17 and 18 at even par to take home the trophy.
Oklahoma Christian finished second with a combined score of 27-over 1,179 (297-288-292-302) in its final season of competition in the NAIA before the Eagles make the move to NCAA Division II next year. British Columbia moved up three spots on the final day finishing third with a team score of 34-over 1,186 (299-295-300-292), while Johnson & Wales (Fla.) and Cumberlands (Ky.) finished fourth and fifth, respectively. The Wildcats of JWU were a combined 35-over par (298-294-290-305=1,187) and Cumberlands was 36-over par (305-291-297-295=1,188) for the week to round out the Top 5 teams.
Along with helping lead his team to the title, Blaser also earned the seventh NAIA Coach of the Year award of his career with a pair of OCU players – Taylor Artman and Clark Collier – earning all-tournament honors.
Individually, Victoria’s (B.C.) Carson Kallis took home the O.D. Bounds Medalist Trophy moving from a tie for sixth after three rounds to the top of the leader board with a final round six-under 66 to win the tournament by one stroke over Texas Wesleyan’s Nathan Anderson (70-74-69-71=284) despite birdies on Nos. 16 and 18 by the tournament’s runner-up.
“It definitely felt good to put things together out there today,” said Kallis. “My eagle on No. 1 really got my day started, as I had a few bogies but was able to bounce back all day with a nice up-and-down on No. 17 and a par on the 18th hole.”
Rounding out the Top 5 individuals was Oklahoma Christian’s Vilhelm Bogstrand (71-71-70-76=289), Johnson & Wales’ Brandon Meltzer (73-65-71-80=289), and British Columbia’s Scott Malo (76-72-73-69=290).
This year’s tournament concluded with an awards ceremony that included the announcement of the all-tournament team that included the top 15 individuals on the final leader board.
2012 All-Tournament TeamCarson Kallis, University of Victoria (B.C.)Nathan Anderson, Texas Wesleyan UniversityVilhelm Bogstrand, Oklahoma Christian UniversityBrandon Meltzer, Johnson & Wales University (Fla.)Scott Malo, University of British ColumbiaAaron Flores, Our Lady of the Lake UniversityAlastair Tidcombe, University of The Cumberlands (Ky.)Taylor Artman, Oklahoma City UniversityJulian Taylor, Williams Woods University (Mo.)Clark Collier, Oklahoma City UniversityLogan Herbst, Oklahoma Christian UniversityNiclas Rigbrandt, University of The Cumberlands (Ky.)Nic Ishee, William Carey University (Miss.)Thane Ringler, The Master’s College (Calif.)Scott Secord, University of British Columbia