After entering Tuesday’s final round in a tie for eighth, the Sam Houston men’s golf program saved its best for last. The Bearkats fired a team score of 282, the lowest among the 15-team field, to finish fifth at 16-over, 880, from the Southwestern Jones Invitational in Westlake Village, Calif.
Redshirt junior Andrew Ertel led the charge, finishing tied for 10th after shooting 70-74-71 for a two-day score of 1-under, 215. The Woodlands product shot a field-best 3-under on the course’s par-3’s while tapping in 11 birdies, tied for 11th.
The result marked the best finish of the season for Ertel since a second-place finisher in the fall opener at the Sam Hall Intercollegiate. It was also Ertel’s fifth top-10 finish in two seasons for since joining the Sam Houston program.
Teammates Jake McCory and Camden DeBonis each vaulted up the leaderboard after impressive final rounds. McCrory, who entered the day in 33rd, shot 73-76-70 to finish 3-over, 219, in a 25th place finisher. The sophomore has boasted his best tournaments in the last two outings, following up a 26th place All-American Intercollegiate with another impressive outing.
Meanwhile, DeBonis, who entered the final day in a tie for 40th, etched his way up to finish in a five-way tie for 26th, highlighted by a third-round 70. The freshman shot 74 and 77 during his first two rounds and finished at 4-over, 220. The result marks DeBonis’s best finish since taking 11th at the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate in October.
Continuing the trend, Mason Weld also moved up the leaderboard, finishing tied for 42nd after entering the final 18 tied for 54th. After shooting first and second round 77’s, Weld answered with a final-round 72 to conclude at 10-over, 226. Jesse Massengale (80-78-75 – 233) moved up to 67th from 72nd finishing at 17-over, 233.
No. 14 Southern California won the event at 26-under, 838, followed by host No. 38 Pepperdine in second at 6-under, 858. The Kats finished ahead of No. 36 Augusta who finished sixth at 17-over, 881. No. 23 San Diego State finished third (1-under, 863) and No. 29 Oregon took fourth (5-over, 869).
The Bearkats return to play one week from Friday at the two-day Border Olympics. The prestigious tournament takes place at Laredo Country Club. A season ago, Sam Houston finished third, helped by McCrory, who finished tied for 11th.