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NAIA Championships
16 May 2008
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PLYMOUTH, Ind. (May 16, 2008)--Starting the day at even par, third-ranked British Columbia was four-over in their final round which was more than enough to grab their first-ever team title at the 2008 NAIA Men's Golf National Championship held at Indiana National Golf Club in Plymouth, Indiana.

The Thunderbirds, who took the team lead after the second round, slammed the door on the competition with the best round of the day. Sunny and breezy conditions made the course dry and quick and scoring became more and more difficult as the day wore on. Oklahoma Christian was the only team able to match the Thunderbirds' four-over 292, but having started the day 12 strokes back, they gained no ground on the leaders and could only move up to second place. Playing in the final grouping with UBC were Oklahoma City and Johnson & Wales (Fla.), but both faltered as the day wore on to finish in third and fourth respectively. Wayland Baptist finished the day where they started, ending up in fifth place.

Sam Cyr, who began the day in second place two strokes out of the lead, posted a bogey-free 2-under 70 in one of the earliest pairings for an 8-under-par total.

Once that score hit the leaderboard, no one could match the Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) junior as he ended up five strokes clear of runner-up Blake Rowe-Sleeman (-3) of UBC in his run toward the Arnold Palmer award presented to the tournament's top individual performer.

Fernando Gonzales of Oklahoma Christian and Hamilton Wheeler of Southern Nazarene (Okla.) tied for third at (-2) while Nick Zappin of Johnson & Wales finished fifth at even par.

Chris MacDonald of British Columbia was named the Eaton Golf Pride NAIA National Coach of the Year after his Thunderbirds wrapped up their first-ever NAIA National Championship.

MacDonald led British Columbia to three wins in addition to the National Championship. MacDonald’s squad never finished out of the top five in any tournament this season. Two Thunderbirds were also named First-Team All-Americans.

Cyr has been named the recipient of the Jack Nicklaus Award. The award is presented annually to the national player of the year in NCAA Divisions I, II and III and the NAIA.

Cyr won three tournaments this season, including the NAIA National Championship. He also carded six top-five finishes in addition to his three wins.

“I’m very happy and honored to win this award,” Cyr said following the announcement.

Also announced after the tourney was the Ping NAIA All-American Team. That list follows:

NAIA PING First-Team All-Americans

Bruno Buccolo, Oklahoma Christian Sam Cyr, Point Loma Nazarene Samuel del Val, Berry Mitchell Evanecz, Victoria Anthony Michael, Oklahoma City Cory Renfrew, British Columbia Blake Rowe-Sleeman, British Columbia Dave Tobon, Johnson & Wales Jarod Trammell, Berry Hamilton Wheeler, Southern Nazarene

In other news from the tourney, Michael Loppnow of Wayland Baptist was awarded the Phil Mickelson Award presented by the Phil and Amy Mickelson Foundation as the nation’s outstanding freshman NAIA men’s golf.

The Ping NAIA First-Team All-Freshman Team was also named following the event, that list follows:

Justin Lower, Malone Axel Ochoa, Oklahoma Christian Kevin Palmer, Davenport Armando Villarreal, Texas Wesleyan Loppnow finished in the in the top five on three occasions including two wins for a Wayland Baptist team that finished fifth in the NAIA National Championship.

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