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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M men’s golf says ‘Aloha’ with fifth place in the John A. Burns Intercollegiate

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Courtesy of Bailey Orr/Texas A&M Athletics

The Texas A&M men’s golf team capped off its 2021 fall season recording a second place team finish at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate in a talented field. 

Spring break came early for the Texas A&M men’s golf team as it teed off in Lihue, Hawaii to compete in the 47th annual John A. Burns Intercollegiate on Feb. 15-17.

The tournament dates back to 1977 and has been home to four courses before settling down at the Ocean Course in 2022. John A. Burns was the former governor of Hawai’i,and had a hand in the growth of athletics in the Aloha State. Shortly after his death in 1975, the tournament was created in his name to reflect his contribution not only as a politician but his “sportsman at heart” identity.

A&M has a history with the three-day, 54-hole tournament with titles from 2009 and 2018. The Aggies have claimed four medalist honors titles, with the most recent going to Sam Bennett last season. Bennett tied the tournament record with a score of 61.

The field consisted of 20 teams with the majority from the West, including No. 9 Arizona, Cal, USC, Utah, Washington State and No. 19 New Mexico, among others. Along with these teams was last year’s John A. Burns victor, BYU. The 2023 champs broke the tournament scoring record in a team title with a 54-hole score of 810.

Day 1 consisted of one round of 18 holes. This is different from the standard setup of most collegiate tournaments, where the first day consists of two rounds.

A&M junior Phichaksn Maichon led the Aggies with five recorded birdies and a finish of 2-under 70. Maichon has had a promising jump to the spring slate after posting his collegiate-career best round at the National Invitational Tournament last month in Tucson with a score of 64.

Junior Michael Heidelbaugh, sophomore Jaime Montojo and senior Daniel Rodrigues tied for 34th at 1-under-71.

“It’s another round where we were good in stretches but we didn’t put together a full 18 holes,” coach Brian Kortan said. “If we want to get where we’re capable of going, we need to play good golf for 18 holes every time out.”

The Maroon and White tied for eighth with California with a round of 5-under.

Arizona sophomore Yannick Malik shot a career-low round at 64 and claimed the top position on the individual leaderboard.

The Wildcats shot a 10-under round and sat in second place as the day came to a close.

Long Beach State dominated Round 1 and posted a team score of 15-under. Grand Canyon, Washington State and Arizona followed only five strokes behind.

On Day 2, the Aggies climbed the leaderboard to tie for fifth with New Mexico at 3-under.

Maichon and Rodrigues jumped 10 and 19 spots respectively as they soared the individual leaderboard to place themselves at 12th and 15th place.

Arizona claimed first place as sophomore Zach Pollo posted 2-under 70 and tied for fourth. Malik struggled during Day 2 with a 5-over round but managed to stay in the game with a tie for 12th with Maichon.

Grand Canyon sat in second place just two strokes behind Arizona while Long Beach State followed three strokes behind.

Fresno State junior Joseph Lloyd shot a 69 in Round 1 and sat tied for 12th with 10 other golfers until he came back in Round 2 even stronger, posting a 67 to steal the individual leader position.

Arizona dominated Day 3, led by performances from Pollo and Malik. Pollo posted an eagle and two birdies to tie for third on the individual leaderboard.

Malik shook off his struggles from Round 2 and managed to record five birdies and secure the second-place spot.

New Mexico senior Bastien Amat shot an incredible round, recording seven birdies and one eagle. He posted a Round 3 score of 8-under and a tournament score of 13-under, claiming the individual title victory.

Arizona claimed the team victory at 20-under 844. Cal followed in second at 17-under with a strong performance from redshirt junior Tony Chen, who tied for third on the individual leaderboard. New Mexico claimed the third place slot at 10-under 854.

The Maroon and White finished fifth on the team leaderboard and posted 2-under 862. Rodrigues led the Aggies from start to finish and placed eighth on the individual leaderboard at 5-under for the tournament. Heidelbaugh shot 2-under and placed 19th while Maichon followed not far behind, tied for 28th.

“We aren’t the team we want to be yet, but there is a path to get there,” Kortan said. “I know this team will work to get there … Dani had a great week, especially considering his driver broke and he was playing with one he borrowed. Mike put together a good final round and was two good swings away from a great round.”

The Maroon and White are set to tee off at the Southern Highlands Golf Course in Las Vegas for the Southern Highlands Collegiate on Feb. 25-27.

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