Above photo of the UMHB men’s golf team courtesy of the American Southwest Conference
BROWNWOOD, Texas- The UMHB men’s golf team maintained its lead and pulled away in day two of the ASC Championship Tournament on Tuesday, capturing the program’s eighth conference title and clinching an automatic berth into the NCAA Championship.
The Div. III NCAA Championship is set for May 11-14 in Wheeling, West Virginia at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center. It will be the first national championship for men’s golf since 2019, as all spring sport championships were canceled in 2020.
UMHB’s Ari Saldana led the pack for the final two rounds and earned the individual title with a score of 214. Saldana’s performance was critical in the Cru’s success, as the freshman shot a 70 in both rounds on Monday, before coming back with a 74 on Tuesday. He showed an exceptional confidence on the course, as he was the only player to register two eagles and led all players with a -6 on par fives. He edged out UT Dallas’ Ryan Kropp by one stroke to claim the sixth ASC individual title in UMHB history.
UMHB’s Kayden Trebig finished tied for fifth with a score of 222. Both Saldana and Trebig were named to the All-Tournament team for their performances.
As a team, the Cru posted a score of 882, finishing at +18 after firing a 293 on Tuesday. It was the best round of the tournament for UMHB, as the Crusaders finished at 294 in round one, and 295 in round two. The tournament featured a play-six, count-four format in which only the four lowest scores of the team’s six competitors count towards the team total.
Interestingly, the Cru captured the conference title behind the performances of five freshmen and one sophomore, which hints to the maturity found within head coach Jordan Cox’s program.
The entire NCAA Championship field will be released on May 3, just over a week before the tournament begins. The Cru heads east as the nation’s No. 18 team according to the Bushnell Golfweek Coaches Poll released on April 16, though that ranking may improve after claiming the ASC title.
UMHB was ranked No. 5 in the NCAA Regional Ranking for the West Region on April 23, just behind Trinity (TX) and conference foes McMurry, Concordia (TX) and UT Dallas. UTD finished second on Monday, McMurry placed fifth and Concordia placed sixth.