@LATechGolf Paalson Wins Quail Valley Intercollegiate
Oct. 24, 2017
VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Victor Lange owns just about every Louisiana Tech record following his brilliant four-year career with the Bulldog golf program.
He now owns one fewer though after Louisiana Tech sophomore Felix Paalson carded a three-round total of 14-under-par 202 to capture the 2017 Quail Valley Intercollegiate held Monday and Tuesday in Vero Beach, Florida.
The 54-hole total of 202 broke Lange's record of 203 registered at Squire Creek Golf Course during the 2014 Jim Rivers Intercollegiate. Paalson's first collegiate victory came against a field of 75 golfers from programs like South Florida, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Maryland, Memphis, Louisville and Cincinnati.
"He played well," said Tech head coach Matt Terry. "I was really pleased seeing how well he played this week. He played well before we left for the tournament. He shot 65 twice at Squire Creek leading up to this event. You could see it coming. But for him to come out and shoot 14-under for 54 holes was solid." Paalson shot a final round five-under-par 67 to win the event by one stroke over South Florida's Claudio Correa. The Stockholm, Sweden native was tied with Correa going into his final hole before birdying the par 5, 576-yard No. 7 to capture his first career collegiate title. His final round card included seven birdies, two bogeys and nine pars. He shot an even par 36 on the front nine but carded a 31 on the back nine.
"I didn't see him today until he had one hole left," said Terry. "I asked if he wanted to know (the situation), and he said yes. I told him he was tied with the kid from USF. (Felix) had a par 5 left to play. He went out, hit it to 20 feet and two putted for the win."
Paalson entered the day in a tie for third place, only one stroke behind the leaders.
"I decided on the first tee today that I wouldn't look at the leaderboard until the very last hole," said Paalson. "The last hole (for me) was a par 5 that is kind of a risk versus reward hole. If I had a two stroke lead, then I would have played it safe. But I got to the last hole and coach told me I was tied for the lead. He said I needed a birdie to win and to break the school record. I decided it was time for a birdie."
After hitting his driver over 330 yards off the tee and into the fairway, Paalson followed it up with a six-iron 245 yards onto the green, leaving a 25-foot eagle putt.
"My putting has been a lot better since I decided to have the mindset of making everything," said Paalson. "You can see the lines a lot better. It's easier to lag up when you think you should make it. I decided it was uphill, so I just wanted to get it as close as possible. I hit it one foot short and tapped it in."
Paalson shot 67 and 68 during Monday's first two rounds. The 67 in the first and third rounds were career collegiate lows. His opening 18 holes included an eagle, six birdies, one bogey, one double bogey and nine pars. His second round consisted of five birdies, one bogey and 12 pars. For the tournament, Paalson totaled one eagle, 18 birdies, four bogeys, one double bogey and 30 pars.
"It's huge," said Paalson of the individual title. "I felt like my game has been really good during qualifying. I have shot some really low scores and I just felt it was time for me to show what I can do in the tournament. My swing was a little off last week, but I still shot two 65s at Squire Creek. I felt like I didn't need to hit perfect shots to make birdies. That was kind of my mindset. I was confident to just do my thing and it would pay off. It means a lot to me."
Sophomore Joacim Ahlund finished in a tie for 30th place after recording a three-round total of four-under-par 212 (71-69-72) which included two rounds in red figures and one round of par. Karsten Green recorded an impressive four-under-par 68 in the second round and finished tied for 50th (74-68-75). Ryan Alford (76-74-79=229) tied for 71st while Nick Daniel (78-74-82=234) finished 73rd.
As a team, the Bulldogs finished 13th in the 15-team field with a three-round team total of four-under-par 860. Tech's best round was Monday's second 18 when Tech shot a nine-under-par 279.
South Florida ran away with the team title with a 44-under-par 820.
"It's not a difficult course off the tee," said Terry. "The greens are flat but tricky. It doesn't lend itself to too much difficulty off the tee. It was windy yesterday during the first two rounds but good today. It's a pretty good field. It's the type of field we need to see and play in more often.
"It was nice to see the team show what it could do yesterday in the second round. Joacim played well today, but even he will tell you he made some errors today that cost him some strokes. We need to get a couple more scores to go with Felix to move up the leaderboard as a team instead of down."
The Bulldogs will complete their fall schedule when they compete at the Duck Commander Intercollegiate in El Dorado Monday and Tuesday.
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