(Photo courtesy of SCACsports.com)
BLANCO, Texas – The University of Dallas men's golf team captured the 2019 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championship on Tuesday at the par-72, 6,864-yard Vaaler Creek Golf Club with an 886 (+22) score over three rounds. This is the first-ever SCAC Title in school history for Dallas and the men's golf program. Emilio Montalvo (Mexico City, Mexico) and Erik Hamm (Brentwood, Tenn.) shot a 217 (+1 Par) to be part of a three-way tie for second individually. Jacob Wade (Magnolia, Texas) carded a 223 to tie for sixth.
After leading the field through the first two rounds on Monday, the Crusaders were challenged by No. 7 Southwestern University and No. 22 Texas Lutheran University down to the wire. Dallas scored a 296 in the final round, which was one stroke higher than its 295 in the first two rounds.
Four schools notched its lowest rounds on the final day. That included a low round tournament-best, 284, by Southwestern. The Pirates had won the last three titles and finished tied for second with Texas Lutheran with an 890. Southwestern shot -4 Par as a team to climb back after being 16 strokes behind after 36 holes on day one.
The Bulldogs teed off just seven strokes behind and erased the gap about midway through the last 18 holes played. The Bulldogs trailed by two strokes heading into the last hole when Montalvo for Dallas hit a birdie to secure the triumph for the Crusaders, who also claimed their first top-three finish since joining the league in 2012.
Schreiner University scored the second lowest round on the day to secure fourth with a 907 (315, 302, 290). Trinity University completed the top-three in the round (311, 316, 291) for a 918, which placed the Tigers fifth overall. Centenary College and Johnson & Wales University (CO) rounded out the standings.
Hamm gave the top score for the Crusaders on the last 18 holes, as he matched his second-round score of 71. After starting the tournament with a 75, the junior scored one shot above his career-low in each of the next rounds. His past seven rounds this month over three tournaments have resulted in a 75 or lower, including four-of-five with a 73 or lower.
Hamm tied the field-lead in Par 5 Scoring with a 4.33 (-8). He also matched the second best Par 3 Scoring with a 3.00 (E) with TLU's Colin Uecker.
Uecker would hang onto his first-place spot that was his at the start of the day and prevail with a 211 (71, 70, 70). Trinity's Peyton Bartee was part of a three-way tie with Hamm and Montalvo with a 217 (73, 76, 68), as he scored the lowest individual round in the final 18 holes.
Montalvo, last week's SCAC Men's Golfer of the Week, followed Hamm on the round with a 73 for one over Par. He was even at Par the first two rounds before coming in with his 10th and final Birdie to clinch the title. He kicked off what would be a historic day for UD with an Eagle and led the team with a 4.17 (+5) in Par 4 Scoring.
Hamm also started his last round with an Eagle, as the Crusaders top scoring tandem gave started the day great after a first-place finish in both rounds to start the tournament on Monday.
Robby Evans (Flower Mound, Texas) recorded the other Dallas Eagle, as seven golfers achieved the feat once in the tournament.
Wade and Seth McNeill (Plano, Texas) each contributed a 76 in the third round to complete the counted scores toward the team final. Wade had started great in the first 18 holes with a 71 to match Hamm with the lowest round score by a Dallas golfer. McNeill carded his lowest round of the tournament to finish with a 232 overall and tied for 16th. His 11 Birdies were a team-best and tied second most in the field.
Dallas defeated three teams ranked higher than them in Golfstat NCAA Division III rankings. The Crusaders checked in at 43 and edged Southwestern and Texas Lutheran, who were in the top-25, and number 41 Schreiner. Dallas also had all five golfers on its squad place in the top-20 individually out of 34 golfers.