White lifts Eagles into second in Heartland Conference Championship

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HORSESHOE BAY, Texas (April 14, 2019) – The good news for Oklahoma Christian is the Eagles shot their best team score of the 2018-19 season – one of the best in the program’s storied history, really – on Sunday in the first round of the Heartland Conference Championship.

The bad news? The Eagles’ primary competition for the league title, No. 9-ranked St. Mary’s (Texas), went even lower than they did. OC posted an outstanding team score of 274 – 14-under-par – at Slick Rock Golf Course, but the Rattlers posted a 268, tying the record for lowest team round in the Heartland’s 20-year history.

St. Mary’s and No. 13 OC didn’t quite gap the nine-team field on Sunday, as Arkansas-Fort Smith at 279, St. Edward’s (Texas) at 283 and Rogers State at 285 remain within shouting distance, but the Eagles and Rattlers pretty much dominated the leaderboard. Seven of the top 11 players were from either St. Mary’s or OC and all 10 of the teams’ players posted a score of par or better.

Emilio Gonzales, a NCAA Division II All-America player last season for St. Mary’s, held the individual lead in the 45-man field after shooting a 7-under-par 65 on the 6,867-yard course. He was one shot ahead of OC sophomore Andres Brictson of Merida, Mexico, who shot a bogey-free 66 that included six birdies.

Playing on what is essentially his home course, OC senior Garrett White of Lindale, Texas – the defending individual Heartland champ – also shot a bogey-free round, scoring four birdies en route to a 68 that put him in a tie for sixth. Another shot back, tied for eighth at 69, was OC junior Trevor Norby, who had six birdies to go with three bogeys.

Despite an early triple bogey at No. 2, OC senior Juan Pallach shot a 71, recovering by posting five birdies to move into a tie for 14th. Tied for 20th was OC senior Cameron Brown, who posted a 72.

OC’s 14-under team score matched the fourth-lowest score in relation to par in program history. It was the Eagles’ lowest team round since they posted a 272 (-16) in the final round of their first tournament of the 2017 fall season, the Great American Conference Preview at Lake Hefner Golf Club’s North Course in Oklahoma City. It was OC’s lowest score ever in a conference tournament.

The 54-hole tournament will continue Monday.


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Ken MacLeod

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