Smith Takes Individual First At ULM Fred Marx Golf Classic
Updated Sep 28, 2004 17:51:28
Louisiana Tech's Preston Smith went 1-under Tuesday to take first place in individual play of the Louisiana-Monroe Fred Marx Classic at Bayou DeSiard Country Club.
Tech finished second in team play at 884, three shots behind tourney champion Stephen F. Austin at 881. Louisiana-Monroe placed third in the tournament at 885, followed by Sam Houston State (887) and McNeese State (888).
Smith shot a 71 in Tuesday's final round after turning in rounds of 70 and 73 on Monday to take the individual title at 214, one shot in front of McNeese State's Sigmundur Masson.
"There were some great teams in this tournament, and for us to finish second overall and for Preston to come in first in individual play is really huge," Tech coach Dr. Jean Hall said. "This gives us momentum and is something we can build on. It was an outstanding effort by our entire team."
Smith moved to 2-under early in the final round before a couple of bogeys slowed him down. But down the stretch Smith managed to stay at 1-under to escape with the one-stroke win.
"Preston just kept his head together and didn't get frustrated when he slipped up a bit," Hall said. "That was key. He put the last hole behind him and kept thinking ahead."
Smith, a sophomore out of Monroe's Ouachita Christian High School, was no stranger to the course at Bayou DeSiard, and that probably played in his favor down the stretch.
"I grew up on that course," Smith said. "I started playing on it when I was 14 or 15 and I know it well. The fact I was so familiar with the course definitely didn't hurt."
Smith said his driver also played a big role in his tourney championship.
"I really seemed to get my driver working out there," Smith said. "My tee shots were a lot more consistent and left me in a lot better shape than they had in the first two fall tournaments will played."
In Tech's first two fall tournaments the team struggled in the final round after playing well in the first two rounds. But that didn't happen at Bayou DeSiard, helping Tech to the second-place team finish.
"The last two tournaments we'd be fourth or fifth heading into the final round and we'd end up in ninth," Hall said. "But today our entire team concentrated on maintaining that consistency in the final round, and I think it paid off. Instead of falling back in the final round, today we moved up."
Smith said that experience also helped Tech's third round play this time.
"We just started back to school two or three weeks ago, so those first two tournaments we hadn't been working out as much as a team and I don't think our stamina and consistency were there," Smith said. "But we had those two tournaments behind us and really wanted to make sure we turned in a strong final round. All of the work and practice we've done the past few weeks finally helped out."
Smith wasn't Tech's only strong finisher as junior Derek Busby shot a final-round 73 to finish in a tie for fourth place at 218.
"The thing I'm most excited about is not only Smith taking the individual title but the way our whole team played," Hall said. "Jason Jenkins, our fifth player, shot a 72 today, and that was huge. We edged ULM for second place by one shot, so that 72 from your fifth player is pretty big."
Tech's Logan Riester ended up in a tie for 27th with a 227 (75-78-74) while Tyler Trichell shot a 77, 76 and 76 to end up tied for 35th place at 229.
Jenkins turned in rounds of 77, 81 and 72 to end up tied for 38th place at 230.
Louisiana Tech had three other golfers in non-team competition, with Ben Pullin tying for 38th place at 230 (76-76-78) and Chad Carter and Neal Carter tying for 51st place at 234. Chad Carter turned in rounds of 80, 77 and 77 while Neal Carter recorded a 79, 75 and 80.
"This was a great tournament for us as individual players and as a team," Hall said. "Now we just have to build on it and keep on working to get better."
Louisiana Tech returns to play next week when the Bulldogs compete in the SMU Stonebrige Invitational in McKinney, Texas.