With strong showings at recent tournaments, the ACU golf team is climbing the charts, ranked fifth in the latest GolfWorld/Nike Golf Division II Poll.
“This is what you want,” said junior Tyler Sheppard. “You definitely want to be ranked in the top 10 or top five right before the end of the semester.”
ACU vaulted five spots in the poll after finishing second among 15 teams last week in the Bruce Williams Memorial Invitational at Dominion Country Club in San Antonio.Â The Wildcats shot a three-day total of 870 (+6), finishing five strokes behind tournament champion and rival, Central Oklahoma. Teammate Cyril Bouniol took third place, only one shot back of Carpenter and co-champion Colby Shrum of Central Oklahoma. Sheppard had a strong showing with a 221, earning him 12th place in the field.
On Tuesday, the Wildcats won the Queens Invitational at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Verde Beach, Fla., with a three-day total of 876 on the challenging Dye’s Valley Course.Â The ‘Cats finished day one three shots behind leader Lander University, with sophomore Alex Carpenter scorching the first round with a 65 (-6) and taking the individual lead.
“I played just as well as I did last week, but I shot 65 in the first round, which is the best round of the year for me,” Carpenter said. “With the conditions the way they were, I am very happy with how I played.”
Bouniol and Sheppard were at 15th and 18th after round one, respectively. Bouniol shot a 75 (+4), and Sheppard shot a 76 (+5).
In round two the Wildcats fired off a 289 and seized the team lead by 11 strokes behind a sizzling 69 by Sheppard, one of only two golfers to shoot under par that round. Three Wildcats were in the top five individually.
“It was a really tough course, and I had a few big numbers, but other than that I played good and tried to lower my numbers during round two,” Sheppard said. “Some players got some really big numbers early on and became discouraged, but I just tried to stay focused.”
Carpenter was ahead by six strokes at 72 after the second round. Bouniol was tied for fifth at even par.
ACU cinched its second team title of the season, shooting 19 strokes ahead of its host, Queens University. Barton College, Lander University, and Florida Tech rounded out the top five.
Leading the tournament from start to finish, Carpenter claimed his fourth individual win of the season with 210. Tyler Sheppard tied for second place with a 217, and Bouniol tied in fourth with a 220. Wildcat Trey Sullivan finished just outside the top 25 with a 230.
“This course was definitely the most difficult course we have played on all season,” Carpenter said. “There are some very tough holes that you have to stay focused on.”
The Queens Tournament was the Wildcats’ final chance to move up in the Nike Golf Poll. North Alabama, the host of the Alabama Tournament won by Â Carpenter, holds the number one seat. Chico State, Lynn University and Western Washington State are the only remaining schools standing in the way of ACU’s trek to being number one in the nation.