A 14-stroke gap separated the MSU Men's Golf Team from the rest of their competitors, as they won their second team victory under head coach Dusty Smith at the Steelwood Collegiate Invitational, as stated by an MSU Athletic Department press release.
"I am so happy for this team,” Smith said. "They are a tough-minded and resilient bunch. This was a total team effort from top to bottom this week.”
The tournament played at the Steelwood Golf Course in Loxley, Alabama, saw teammates Ford Clegg, a sophomore from Birmingham, Alabama, and Garrett Johnson, a senior from Kimberly, Alabama, finish first and second place respectively.
On the final hole, Clegg set the ball in motion, striking with his putter as he watched it roll slowly into the cup. The ball dropped for birdie, as he bested his teammate Johnson by one stroke.
Sitting at first place on the leaderboard at the end of the round was a career first for Clegg. He shot a five-under final round and did not once shoot above par. Clegg's midrange putting was as hot as his round, as he made five of five midrange putts.
"The whole time I was telling myself to be patient and that the birdies would start dropping," Clegg said.
It was an emotional win for Clegg who said he had invested so much time and effort into accomplishing what he said was his career goal. Taking advantage of scoring opportunities, Clegg carded 14 birdies for the entire tournament finishing at 10-under-par.
"To win individual was big to me because it’s a goal I’ve had ever since I committed,” Clegg said. “To know that I can win at the college level is huge because I proved I can compete with the best of the best and continue to get better and take the momentum into the spring season.”
MSU ended the fall season on a high note as Hunter Logan, a freshman from Steens, and Peng Pichaikool, a senior from Bangkok, Thailand, finished in the top 20. It is the final round for the Dawgs until the return to the course at the end of January.
“Winning is a difficult thing to do,” Smith said. “I want our guys to celebrate what they accomplished this week. It is exactly what we needed heading into the offseason. We will take these next few months to get better and to continue to grow as a team.”