Hughes, UCO prevail in NSU Classic at Muskogee CC

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Photo: UCO junior Alexander Hughes took home individual medalist honors after shooting a 205 in the 19th Annual NSU Classic. The Bronchos won the team event Tuesday.

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – The University of Central Oklahoma won its first tournament title of the 2017-18 season Tuesday, taking top honors in the 19th annual NSU Classic at Muskogee Country Club behind a trio of top-seven finishes.

Alexander Hughes claimed individual medalist honors after shooting a blistering 8-under 205 in three trips around the 6,729-yard Par 71 course. Eli Armstrong added a 5-under 208 to finish in third-place, and Wesley Jackson was seventh after shooting a 1-under 212.


“I’m just proud of the way guys for battling,” UCO head men’s golf coach Josh Fosdick said. “All the guys knew Arkansas Tech was going to make a push, and they did, but the guys kept their composure, and kept hitting good shots.”

Central Oklahoma held a 10-stroke lead walking onto the course Tuesday morning. Led by Hughes’ second-round 64 on Monday, the Bronchos put themselves in position to win the tournament early, and maintained their play through the final round. Hughes’ 64, which is the third lowest single round of golf in UCO history, is also the lowest round of golf in 19 years of the NSU Classic.

Hughes wins his second career tournament, and second in his last four. The reigning MIAA champion had to fight for it Tuesday. After his big second round, Hughes came out and shot a seven on the second hole. His composure never rattled though, the junior from Tulsa worked his way back shot-by-shot, hitting the halfway point just 1-over par. Hughes then ripped off a strong finish with an eagle on 15 and a birdie on 16 to take the crown.

Armstrong also had a big final day. After shooting 71 and 70 on Monday, and leading the field with 28 pars on 36 holes, the senior saved his best for last. Armstrong had six birdies Tuesday, including three in a four-hole stretch on the back nine to move up to third place.

Jackson finished seventh following a final-round 73. Though his final round was his highest score of the tournament – he shot 69-70 Monday – he did finish with 15 total birdies, tops in the event.

The trio of Hughes, Armstrong, and Jackson, played six rounds out of nine under-par, and of the other three rounds, hit par twice.

Nick Pierce and Holden Crago also competed for the Bronchos. Pierce earned the fourth score for UCO, shooting a final 223 (76-73-74). Crago finished with a 226 (78-73-75).

Central Oklahoma has a week off before returning to action. The Bronchos next head to Wichita, Kan. for the Newman Invitational on Monday, Oct. 2.

Southwestern Oklahoma State finished in seventh place, led by Kason Cook, who tied for fifth place after a final round 71.

Gregor Weck shot 76 for an overall score of 216. Ole Hatlelid shot 75 to finish at 224, Conner Kaufman 227 and Matthew Cathcart 230.

The Bulldogs will be back on the course Monday and Tuesday, October 9-10 at the Central Regional Preview in St. Joseph, Missouri.  They have two events remaining in the fall before the semester ends.

Northeastern State retreated in the final round, finishing in a three way tie for 11th place with an 886 (301-284-301).

Play was suspended for nearly two hours in the morning after a thunderstorm crossed the Muskogee Country Club and the RiverHawks who had a late start were only on the first hole.

Northeastern State didn’t have any lower scores in their final 18-holes from their afternoon round on Monday where they fired off the second lowest round of the 17 competing teams.  Bryce Newton was NSU’s lone individual inside the top-20 and he finished tied for 19th carding a 218 (72-70-75); Hunter Pennington was a shot back (74-70-74) and tied for 23rd place.

Oddly, Navid Majidi and Matt Willingham tied with matching scores in all three rounds with a 226 (78-72-76), and they were tied for 60th overall.  Ty Shelnutt was the RiverHawks’ fifth score with a 238 (77-79-82).

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Ken MacLeod

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