LAS VEGAS (Feb. 29, 2016) – The wind blew and blew, making it challenging, but Oklahoma Christian held on to finish second in the Las Vegas Desert Classic, which ended Monday at Paiute Golf Club’s Snow Mountain Course.
Led by top-10 individual finishes by Sam Johnston and Manuel Hernandez, the Eagles posted a team score of 881, 15 shots behind West Florida, which entered the tournament at No. 3 in the most recent Golfstat.com NCAA Division II relative ranking. OC is No. 60 in that ranking.
OC – which entered the final round trailing West Florida by two shots – ended up tied with No. 18 Missouri-St. Louis, two shots ahead of Arkansas Tech. In fifth place in the 15-team event was No. 26 Indianapolis, eight shots behind the Eagles.
The second-place finish was the second in as many tournaments this spring for the Eagles, who also were the runner-up two weeks ago in the San Antonio Shootout at TPC San Antonio.
Hernandez, a freshman from Monforte de Lemos, Spain, and Johnston, a senior from San Diego, tied for sixth in the 78-man field at 218, 10 shots behind the individual winner, Bryce Geraghty of West Florida. Hernandez, who held the first-round lead after posting a 4-under-par 68, shot a final-round 76, while Johnston closed with a 75 on the 6,992-yard layout.
Sophomore Zac Schaefer recorded OC’s best score on Monday, a 74 that left him at 220, tied for 12th. Freshman Juan Pallach shot a 76 and tied for 21st at 225, while freshman Ethan Smith fired a 78 and tied for 51st at 239.
OC will be off until March 21-22, when the Eagles will make the short trip to Gaillardia Country Club in Oklahoma City for the Broncho Invitational, to be hosted by Central Oklahoma.
Complete results are here.