From Cabo, Mexico to Little Rock, Arkansas, the ACU golf team was back in action this week. The Wildcats competed in the 21st Annual Arkansas-Little Rock First Tee Classic Monday and Tuesday. It was their third tournament of the spring season and their first since playing in the SMU Querencia Cabo Collegiate in Mexico. The team finished thirteenth and were led by a spring best 223 from junior Corbin Renner, good enough to be tied for seventh.
Senior Ian Evans finished second for the Wildcats by shooting 234 and shooting a 78 on the final day of the tournament. Louisiana-Monroe finished first as a team, shooting 889, holding onto their four stroke lead against second place finisher Sam Houston State.
Albert Miner of SHSU finished first individually with a score of 216. Martin Eriksson from McNeese State finished two shots behind to earn second place.
The ‘Cats put in a long day on Monday playing 36 holes. They closed out the tournament on Tuesday with 18 more.
“The weather was cold early in the day, but it warmed up later on,” sophomore Brandon Stites said.
The morning chill led to a slow start for the Wildcats, but they heated up as the course did.
After the first day of scoring, ACU finished in 13th place in the 14-team field after shooting 619. Renner led the way for the ‘Cats with a 76 and a 71. His 147 put him in 11th place, six strokes off the lead. Junior Luke Carpenter turned in a 75 and 78 for 38th place. The rest of the team had some troubles with the narrow fairways. Senior Ian Evans shot a 156, senior Trey Sullivan carded a 164 and redshirt freshman Brandon Stites fired a 168.
“The team struggled a bit, but we will get them tomorrow,” Renner said after the first day.
Renner and Carpenter have experience at the Chenal Country Club because they are Little Rock natives. Their familiarity with the course gave them an edge that few other teams had.
“It helps out a lot, knowing the course and knowing where you need to hit it to have the best chance at a good score,” Renner said.
Success on the course runs even deeper for the Carpenter family. Luke’s older brother, Alex, won the event last year.