2017 Southland Conference Championship
Monday, April 24 – Wednesday, April 26 • McKinney, Texas

Dye Course at Stonebridge Ranch Country Club • Par-72, 7,346 yards
Live ScoringPairing and Tee TimesChampionship Central

MCKINNEY – With 10 regular-season tournaments under its belt, Sam Houston State turns its focus to the event it has been preparing for since mid-September.

The Bearkats open the 54th Southland Conference Men’s Golf Championship on Monday from the Dye Course at Stonebridge Ranch Country Club, seeking the program’s third title in four seasons.

The 54-hole championship event, in its sixth year at Stonebridge Ranch, takes place over three days from Monday to Wednesday from the par-72, 7,346-yard course, with the winner receiving the conference’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division I Championship, with regionals from May 15-17.

Sam Houston enters as the fifth-seed and is coming off a third-place result at the championship a season ago. The Kats return three all-conference selections from that team including Andrew Ertel (216, T2), Jake McCrory (218, T5) and Mason Weld (229, T33).

Ertel enters his third league championship as the No. 12 seed individually and is coming off a stellar regular season. Through 27 rounds, the senior ranks third in program history behind a 72.33 scoring average and is poised to move into the program’s top-10 in par or better rounds.

Teammate Jesse Massengale ranks 22nd among a field of 62 conference golfers while McCrory, who recorded three top-25 finishes in nine tournaments, sits in 27th.

The Bearkats entered the final round of the 2016 league championship trailing by 13 strokes before trimming the deficit to two before giving way to eventual champion McNeese. The Cowboys head into Monday as the top seed followed by Stephen F. Austin, Central Arkansas and Southeastern Louisiana.

Sam Houston produced a trio of top-three finishes in 2016-17, with the most recent coming in a fifth-place finisher at the Kingsmill Intercollegiate, held March 19-21, in Williamsburg, Virginia. The Kats closed out the season, April 10-11, with a nine-place result at the rain-shortened, two-round Jim West Intercollegiate in Bastrop.

QUOTEABLES:
Head coach Brandt Kieschnick on the mentality entering the league championship…

“We’ve had two rounds of qualifying and had some really good scores. We feel like we have the best game plan. We are coming to a comfortable place. We have a really good frame of mind and are in a really good place.”

Head coach Brandt Kieschnick on returning a strong contingent from a season ago…
“Jake and Andrew both have been on winning teams. We’ve got two freshmen in the lineup. All of the guys have played the course. It is making everyone comfortable. They have taken on a really good leadership role with the younger guys.”

Head coach Brandt Kieschnick on the Dye Course at Stonebridge Ranch Country Club…
“This whole tournament and course is about knowledge. There is trouble everywhere with every shot. You have to have the right line and know the spots to hit it. We have done that really well the last three years. We feel like we have the recipe for another conference championship because of the course.”         `