Above: Oklahoma Christian’s Exequiel Rodriguez
PENSACOLA, Fla. (April 5, 2022) – Battling a heavy downpour over the final holes, No. 8-ranked Oklahoma Christian moved up the leaderboard for a third-place finish on Tuesday in the Argonaut Invitational, which featured arguably the deepest field in NCAA Division II men’s golf this season.
OC posted a final-round team score of 294 (6-over-par) and finished the three-round event at Pensacola Country Club with an overall score of 862, just five shots behind the winner, No. 4 Arkansas Tech, and one shot behind No. 5 Lee (Tenn.). The Eagles, who started Tuesday in fourth place before slipping to sixth for a time, tied with No. 14 Limestone (S.C.) for third.
Of the 17 teams in the tournament, 11 were ranked in the most recent Division II coaches’ poll and three others received votes. Among the teams finishing behind OC were No. 3 Lincoln Memorial (Tenn.), No. 9 Georgia Southwestern State and the tournament host, No. 12 West Florida. The Eagles have not finished lower than third in any tournament against Division II competition during the 2021-22 season.
It was a rare appearance for the Eagles in the Sunshine State – before this week, they hadn’t played a tournament in Florida since October 2014, when they competed in the National Christian College Athletic Association Championship at The Hombre Golf Club (since closed) in Panama City Beach.
This week, OC had two players finish in the top 10 individually. Freshman Oskari Nikku of Tuusula, Finland, overcame a rough start – he was 5-over on the front nine – to close with a 2-over-par 74 on the 6,815-yard course. His three-round score of 212 landed him a career-best sixth-place finish. Nikku’s 15 birdies during the tournament ranked second in the 93-man field.
One shot behind Nikku, tied for seventh, was OC sophomore Mateo Pulcini, who had three birdies on the front nine en route to a 74. Senior Andres Brictson of Merida, Mexico, tied for 20th at 219 after a final-round 75. His 40 pars over the three rounds was third-best in the field, while Pulcini (38) ranked fifth in that category. Pulcini has finished in the top 10 in six of OC’s nine tournaments this season.
Freshman Exequiel Rodriguez of Buenos Aires, Argentina, provided the Eagles with their best individual round Tuesday, a 1-under 71 that included five birdies. He tied for 27th at 220. Junior Alejandro Armijo of Rio Rancho, N.M., tied for 74th, shooting a 79 to finish at 231 overall.
Competing as an individual, freshman Santiago Villareal of Cordoba, Argentina, tied for 67th at 229 thanks to his best round of the tournament, a 73.
Arkansas Tech’s Francois Jacobs was the medalist with a three-round score of 205 (11-under).
OC now will begin preparations for the Lone Star Conference Championship tournament, to be held April 18-20 at Squaw Valley Golf Club’s Apache Links in Glen Rose, Texas. The Eagles won their first LSC title last season when the event was played at Tierra Vierde Golf Club in Arlington, Texas.