by Jeff Thompson
The Union University men’s golf team finished second in the National Christian College Athletic Association National Championship Oct. 22-24 at Edgewater Beach Resort in Panama City Beach, Fla.
With its record-setting season, Union had high hopes in this tournament, but with Oklahoma Christian University also on the hunt, Union was up for some stiff competition.
Oklahoma Christian’s team achieved runner-up in the 2012 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Championship.
Union’s team stayed competitive throughout the tournament, with golfers Brett Barry and Kody Alexander finishing in the top 10 positions, but Oklahoma Christian University overshadowed all the competitors with its impressive 838 (-26 under par) record score.
Union golfers included Kyle Long, who finished in a tie for 27th place, Bryce Doughty, who finished in a tie for 29th, and Ben Waits, who finished in a tie for 56th.
While some players knew a little about the course, most of them came in playing it for the first time.
“We didn’t really know what to expect,” said junior mathematics major Bryce Doughty. “We had heard some things about it being a tight golf course with a lot of water and trees, and we are fortunate enough at the Jackson Country Club to be able to play a tight golf course with trees, so that helped us prepare.”
After the first round, Union trailed Oklahoma Christian by only 10 strokes, with Union’s Brett Barry leading the team with 2 under par. By the second round, the team struggled to maintain its solid second place lead, finishing the day with 15 stokes over par.
In the final round, the team improved and finished in second place with a three-day score of 890 (+26).
“We aren’t happy with second place, but at the same time that’s still success,” said senior sports management major Brett Barry. “That’s second place at a national championship so it’s nothing to be ashamed of; we are proud of the way we represent our school.”
Union will finish this part of the season with its final tournament at home Nov. 5-6 at the Union University Fall Invitational held at the Jackson Country Club.