Oklahoma Christian storms into NCAA Division II National Championship match

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Warren, Ohio – Oklahoma Christian took down Simon Fraser and West Florida University Thursday in the quarterfinals and semifinals of the NCAA Division II National Championship to earn another shot at a national title. The Eagles will face Nova Southeastern at 8 a.m. CDT Friday morning at the par 72 Avaolon Lakes Golf Club in Warren.

The top-seeded Eagles defeated the No. 8 seed Simon Fraser 3-1-1 in the quarterfinal match, with the three points coming from Alejandro Armijo, Exequiel Rodriguez, and Mateo Pulcini.

Armijo rallied, using the Eagles’ first eagle of the championship to spark a comeback that led to a four-stroke win. Alejandro carded a 75 (+3) in the round.

Mateo Pulcini controlled his round, turning in a 73 (+1), beating his opponent by four strokes to earn the Eagles’ second point.

Exequiel Rodriguez turned in a 74 (+2), winning his matchup by four strokes to seal the quarterfinal win for Oklahoma Christian.

In the semifinal match against West Florida, Oklahoma Christian took control midway through the round and dominated the back nine to win 4-1. Armijo, Rodriguez, Pulcini, and Villareal each picked up the head-to-head victories.

Armijo was the first to finish the round, coming from behind again, taking a lead as big as five strokes through twelve holes and winning by two strokes.

Pulcini shot the low round of the semifinals for OC, turning in a 68 (-4) in an impressive performance to beat his opponent by six strokes.

Rodriguez was in a battle that, through ten holes, was tied at three-under. But Exequiel took over down the back nine to send the Eagles back to the national championship with a four-stroke head-to-head win.

Villareal added to the Eagles’ total, taking the lead on the 17th hole to win by a stroke.

Also Thursday, OC coach David Lynn was named a finalist for the Golf Coaches Association of America 2023 NCAA Division II Dave Williams Coach of the Year Award, presented by Golf Pride Grips. The Williams Award honors the national coach of the year in NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA, NJCAA Division I, and NJCAA Division II men’s golf.

The five DII finalists are Gary Bissell of Grand Valley State, Steve Fell of West Florida, Lynn of Oklahoma Christian, Joey Marino of Nova Southeastern, and Bryson Worley of North Georgia.

Lynn led Oklahoma Christian to 11 top-five finishes and three victories, including the UC San Diego Invitational against multiple DI teams this season, before earning his third Lone Star Conference (LSC) Coach of the Year honor. The Eagles were led on the course by three PING All-Region golfers, including the program’s first LSC Player of the Year, Exequiel Rodriquez.

Lynn was named the GCAA Coach of the Year at the NAIA level in 2011 and has been the GCAA Region Coach of the Year in 2016, 2019, and 2020.

Pairings

9:00 – Alejandro Armijo vs. Josep Serra
9:10 – Mateo Pulcini vs. Michael Hay
9:20 – Exequiel Rodriguez vs. Daniel Celestino
9:30 – Santiago Villareal vs. Will O’Neill
9:40 – Oskari Nikku vs. Joseba Torres

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Ken MacLeod

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