On Monday and Tuesday, the Mississippi State University Men’s Golf Team started their first tournament of the spring season in Tucson, Arizona. Fourteen teams participated in a total of 54 holes over the course of the two-day tournament. MSU was able to finish in the top five.
The Bulldogs’ starting lineup consisted of seniors Peng Pichaikool and Garrett Johnson, sophomores Ford Clegg and Austin Vukovits and freshman Hunter Logan. This team has a lot to uphold this semester after their fall season held the title of Steelwood Intercollegiate Champions.
The University of Arizona hosted the tournament on a course named the best public golf course of 2016 in Golf Magazine.
The Bulldogs have a history of playing well here and placed fifth of 14 in the tournament this week. Arizona came in first followed by Baylor University, St. Mary’s University, Washington State University and MSU.
Last season, Garret Johnson, a senior from Kimberly, Alabama, got his first collegiate win here. He shot a 68, three under par, in the first round of the tournament followed by a 69 and 76. Johnson’s total for the tournament was 213, taking him to his second top 15 finish in a row, coming in 13th this week.
“I thought the first tournament was a good start to our spring semester. We beat some really good teams and even though, as a whole, we didn’t have our best stuff, it was still good enough for a T5 finish,” Johnson said. “I’m proud of the way our younger guys stepped up and played great final rounds when I didn’t have my best day. I’m also proud of Peng and the way he played the final round and earned another top 10 showing.”
The Bulldogs fought hard on day two of the tournament after being tied for seventh place, achieving their final place of fifth out of 14. Peng Pichaikool’s, a senior from Bangkok, Thailand, best round was the third and final, where he shot 68, leaving him with a total of 210, three above Johnson. He finished the tournament being tied for seventh making this his 15th top 10 career finish.
Johnson said the younger players stepped up and helped out the team while he was not having his best game. This came with the help of freshman Hunter Logan who shot a total of 220, finishing only seven over par and being tied for 44th. Sophomore Ford Clegg was close in score, finishing with 221.
The Mississippi State Men’s Golf Team head coach Dusty Smith said he was happy with the team’s performance.
“Really pleased with the response we had today as a team,” Smith said. “We are really looking forward to a couple weeks of preparation before our next event in Florida.”
The team has less than a month before they travel to Gainesville, Florida to compete in the Gator Invitational Feb. 15 and 16.
“Ultimately, I’m most excited about this next event because it is our next opportunity to get better,” Johnson commented after this week’s tournament. “We have a little over two weeks to prepare for this event, and we are looking forward to reflecting on what we learned last week and put that into our preparation for The Gator.”