Texas Wesleyan men’s golf team brought home its first Sooner Athletic Conference championship last month after placing third three consecutive years in a row.

Head coach Bobby Cornett emphasized the team’s hard work and efforts all throughout the year in preparation for conference week.

“Our main situation was trying to figure out who are top five guys were going to be so we had some qualifying towards the end,” Cornett said. “We had some really tough competition intersquad to who was going to represent us at conference.”

The championship was hosted at La Paloma Golf Club in Amarillo. The Rams ranked third in the NAIA Men’s Golf Coaches’ Top 25 Poll and placed first shooting a three round team total of 861, finishing nine over as a team, according to ramsports.net.

Cornett expressed his enthusiasm on winning the SAC championship, which qualified them for 68th NAIA Annual Men’s Golf National Championships, which will be held later this month in Mesa, Ariz.

“What we did out there wasn’t anything particularly exceptional or out of the ordinary for us but what we didn’t do was shoot ourselves in the foot,” he said. “I think the highest score we had to count was a 76 in bad weather and whenever you do that you’re going to be competitive so I think it was our consistency that helped us.”

Sophomore Taylor Beckstead shot his best round of 72 for the week, placing ninth overall.

Beckstead knew if the team “all performed well there was no reason we shouldn’t win.”

During the last-minute preparations for conference, the team attended their weekly practices and focused solely on sharpening up their game.

“It always feels good to finish first anywhere but I think it meant a little extra to coach as he’s been at this a lot longer than I have been and I think he really wanted to get that conference trophy,” said Beckstead.

Senior Futa Yamagishi played top 5 in all three tournaments this spring and didn’t disappoint at the SAC Championship, placing fourth overall.

“I was mentally comfortable so I was no fear playing conference,” said Yamagishi. “I only have two tournaments for my college life so I just try to enjoy.”

Yamagishi noted that the team wasn’t playing as well as usual heading into conference. He knew they needed to work together as a team to play well.

“We were happy and it was nice to give a trophy to our coach,” said Yamagishi. “It gave us confidence to play well at national. We want our coach to get to hold a national trophy.”

The Rams look forward to heading to Arizona on May 21-24 for the 68th NAIA National Championships, according to ramsports.net.

Texas Wesleyan men’s golf team place first at the Sooner Athletic Conference Championship for the first time.
Photo courtesy of Taylor Beckstead.