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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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

No. 15 A&M men’s golf defeated by Florida Gators in SEC Championship semifinals 3-2

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Photo by Robert O’Brien

Sophomore Phichaksn Maichon looks over a putt on the third hole of the Traditions Club on the second day of the Aggie Invitational on Tuesday, April 11, 2023.

“It just means more.”
That was certainly not an understatement as the playing field for the SEC Men’s Golf Championship in St. Simons Island, Georgia featured some of the top-tier golf programs from around the country. Seven golf programs, including Texas A&M, ranked in the top 20 according to golfstat.com
The Aggies, who competed in the tournament from Wednesday, April 19, to Saturday, April 22, were on top of the leaderboard for most of their time there. However, they were knocked out of championship contention in the semifinals on Saturday by the Florida Gators, 3-2.
On the opening day of play on Wednesday, the Aggies finished the day at first on top of the SEC leaderboard at 11-under-par. The maroon and white flexed their impressive lineup as each of their five players shot under par for the day.
Fifth year Sam Bennett led the way, shooting at 5-under-par, which included three birdies. Senior William Paysse followed right behind, carding at 3-under-par with six birdies for the day. Sophomore standout Phichaksn Maichon had a solid outing at 2-under-par with a pair of birdies. Junior Daniel Rodrigues and sophomore Vishnu Sadagopan concluded at 1-under-par.
“These guys were ready to go from the start,” coach Brian Kortan said to 12thMan.com. “They were ready when the week started. They got off to a nice start on the first nine holes we played. It was great to have five guys in it all day. When we do that we’re a really strong team.”
In the second round of play on Thursday, the Aggies were neck and neck with rival Alabama. Both the Aggies and Crimson Tide were exchanging blows for the top spot in the leaderboard, which ultimately ended in a stalemate with both teams tied for first place at 12-under-par.
Sadagopan was the difference maker on Thursday for A&M. He finished the second round at 4-under-par with several birdies. Maichon and Paysse rounded out the top 20 individually, posting 2-under-par. Bennett concluded the round at 1-under-par.
“The guys hung in there well,” Kortan said. “We didn’t get off to the best start. The golf course was hard today. We have to do the things that we do well. We must control the golf ball, take advantage of scoring opportunities and play clean. I know I say it a lot, but if we’re clean, handle ourselves, and control our situation on the course we’ll be in good shape.”
Friday, the Aggies finished the final round of stroke play in second place. Maichon entered the round breaking into the top five, finishing at 5-under-par and sitting at 7-under-par for the tournament. Meanwhile, Bennett and Paysee both finished in the top 20.
At 13-under-par for Friday, the Aggies clinched a quarterfinals spot with Florida, Vanderbilt, Alabama, Ole Miss, Missouri and Mississippi State.
“It was another solid round,” Kortan said. “Of course, P [Maichon] had a great round. If each one of our guys executes, we are hard to beat. The guys know that and we’ll give that message to them again. If we play our good golf, we’ll put ourselves in a position to hopefully advance and then do it all over again.”
After a 5-0 victory over the Missouri Tigers in the quarterfinals on Saturday, the Aggies were matched with the Florida Gators in the semifinals that same day. However, A&M was narrowly defeated by Florida, 3-2.
“This afternoon, we faced a great team with a lot of experience,” Kortan said. “It was a close match, the kind of match you’re going to be in when you’re playing at Greyhawk. This is a loaded conference. To come in here, make match play and win a good match in the quarterfinals isn’t an easy task. Then to play Florida in a tight semifinal match all day long, the guys showed a lot of guts. We’re a very good golf team with a lot of things to be proud of, but we need to be better. We need to handle some situations better and we’ll talk about those and improve from this.”
The Aggies will look ahead following the SEC Championship. The maroon and white will find out who and where they will play for the NCAA Regionals when the NCAA will release the schedule for the regional round on Wednesday, May 3. The NCAA Regionals will take place from May 15-17.

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