PEARLAND – Arguably no one among the 84-player Bayou City Collegiate Classic field has more experience at GolfCrest Country Club than Jake McCrory. The results showed.
The Sam Houston State senior and Deer Park native captured third at his par-72, 7,254-yard home course behind a 7-under, 209 while the Bearkats surged over their final few holes to finish tied in third with Houston at 2-under, 862 from the third-annual 54-hole event.
It marked the third-consecutive top-five finisher for Sam Houston to begin its fall campaign, a feat which has not been accomplished since the 2014-15 squad brought home five-straight top-five finishers to begin its season. That team went on to win the Southland Conference Championship.
Lipscomb captured the team title, carding a 15-under, 849 to win the championship by eight strokes over runner-up Arkansas State (7-under, 857). Sam Houston (281-293-288), which led the event after one round, held check in third place thanks to an even-par final round.
Meanwhile, McCrory tapped in four birdies in his final round to fire a 3-under, 69. During the two days, McCrory (68-72-69) was an impressive 2-under on the course’s par 3s and 4-under on the par 4s and has now shot under par in four of his nine rounds this season.
William Holcomb (69-73-73) fired a 1-under, 215, to notch an 11th-place result. The sophomore was one of 13 players to finish under par, backed by an impressive opening round to the tournament in which he sunk four birdies and totaled a 3-under.
Noah Steele continued his ascent up the leaderboard since carding a 3-over in his opening round. The sophomore made up 11 spots on his final day to finish tied for 22nd at 2-over, 218. The Kingston, Ontario native shot an even-par, 72 in his second round and followed with a 1-under, 71 on Tuesday.
Austen Christiansen took a three-way tie for 38th (6-over, 222) and Levi Valadez brought home a tie for 50th at 9-over, 225. In his first outing with the Bearkats, junior transfer Adam Strom finished tied for 62nd, as an individual carding a 12-over, 228, while individual competitor Camden DeBonis took 62nd (13-over, 229).
Sam Houston turns the page quickly, heading to Phoenix, Ariz., on Thursday and begins competition at the two-day Wyoming Southern Dunes Classic on Saturday from the Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club. The event will be the second-to-last tournament of the fall campaign.
Head coach Brandt Kieschnick on the third-place result…
“I was really proud. We shot even-par today and we made a lot of mistakes. We got off to a hot start, which you have to do to catch the leader. We slipped a little in the middle of the round but I’m most proud of the way we played the last three holes. We needed to make some birdies and we made five. You always want to get the best finish you can. We want to win but third here is good. It’s a great field. These guys are competitors. I love these guys and how they put it out there each shot.”
Head coach Brandt Kieschnick on hosting the event with Rice and Houston…
“This golf course really represents Houston golf. You always want to play well at your host event. We hadn’t played well the last two years. Jake (McCrory) really guided this team. To be a good coach, you have to be coached as well. He had way more knowledge on this course than I did. He had a great gameplan and we almost won. I am happy for him and his leadership.”
Head coach Brandt Kieschnick on the strong start to the fall…
“It’s the same every day. We try to compete every day. They had a great attitude this morning. You want these guys thinking they are going to win it. You’re always better when you’re in contention. What distanced us from the winner was we made more mistakes. We need to clean that up and we’re right there. I love this team, who they are and how they go about it. I think we’re getting it better each week.”
Senior Jake McCrory on the familiarity with the golf course…
“During the summer, I played out here almost every day. My grandpa became a member almost a year ago. When you play out here every day, you take lines you may not normally take. I learned some things about taking those lines versus maybe taking a safe route. It helped a lot. It gave each one of us a little more confidence. It gave us more birdie chances.”
Senior Jake McCrory on his third-place result…
“This golf course, if you hit your driver well and make some putts, you’re going to play well. We were taking drivers. If I hit those tight lines and made some putts, I knew I could play well. It’s real exciting to start off the season like this and compete with some big teams like this. The first three tournaments have been a great start. We know we’re good and we’re supposed to play well.”