The ACU golf team did something Tuesday afternoon they failed to do all last season: win a tournament.
The ‘Cats took first in the Charles Coody West Texas Intercollegiate at Diamondback Golf Club for their first victory in Div. I. competition.
The team shot 11 over par in the final round but held on to win by five strokes over Odessa College. Junior transfer Dillon Vaughn fired a 72 to earn a tie for second overall.
“Any win is great,” said head coach Tom Shaw. “I think this shows everybody that, hey, we can win tournaments.”
Kaden Walters, senior from Fort Worth, bounced back from a rough first day with a 73. Clarke Hudgins, freshman from Amarillo, continued his strong play from Monday with a 74. Kyle Karnei, sophomore from McGregor, and Corbin Renner, senior from Little Rock, Arkansas, had less impressive rounds with a 74 and 76.
Renner, who started the day at the head of the pack, started slow and could not catch up. Instead, it was Vaughn that hung with the leaders throughout the day. He had a share of the lead with two holes to play. However, a double bogey on 17 left him two shots behind Odessa’s Vetle Maroy, who came out on top.
Wind was a contributing factor to the outcomes of the day. Gusts at 30 mph had players chasing their shots all over the course.
“I was really interested to see how we would respond to the wind and try to hold the lead,” Shaw said after the round. “I was extremely impressed from the top to the bottom with how we handled the conditions.”
The most surprising impression from the group was Hudgins. New to the Abilene wind and college golf, Hudgins put together a strong 36-hole resumÃ©.
“The wind was honestly very difficult, and I started off struggling,” Hudgins said. “Without the support of my team, I don’t know if I could have played as well as I did.”
The Wildcats will compete next week in the Ram Masters Invitational at Colorado State.
“We want to go out and win the next one,” Shaw said. “This week we were 1-0. We want to be 2-0 next week.”