UNT Falls Just Shy Of Match Play In Dramatic Finish
Snyman Finishes Tied For Second At C-USA Tourney
TEXARKANA, Ark. — Near the end of a rough day in Tuesday's final round of stroke play at the Conference USA championship, it appeared top-seed UNT was simply going to end its season with a sputter.
Four shots back of fourth place - and a spot in the match play portion of the tournament - with three holes to play seemed too large a deficit to overcome.
But, the Mean Green made their push when Thomas Rosenmueller went birdie-eagle on 16 and 17, respectively, and Ian Snyman birdied 17. By the time UNT's round was complete, it was sitting four shots up on Rice and squarely in position to advance as a top-four team to the match play portion of the tournament.
Then, the Mean Green watched as Rice made a stronger finish and topped UNT by one stroke over its final three holes to finish fourth and move on in the tournament, while the Mean Green had to settle for a fifth-place finish and hope for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. It was the first time UNT has missed the match-play portion of the conference tournament, and ends the Mean Green's distinction of being the only C-USA team to never miss match play, which began in 2015.
"We made up five shots, but unfortunately missed match play by one shot when Rice made a clutch birdie on the final hole," UNT coach Brad Stracke said. "This team has a lot of heart and never gives up. I'm proud of these guys and what they accomplished this year. We still have a chance to receive an at-large berth to the NCAAs."
While Rosenmueller's near-ace-turned-eagle on 17 was head-turning, the highlight of the day for the Mean Green was Snyman's finish in a tie for second place with UAB's William Walker, III.
Snyman finished the tournament at 2-under par after shooting 76-67-71 for a three-day total of 214 -- three shots behind Rice's Mitchell Meissner for the championship. The Mean Green also had a player tie for second individually last year when Cory Churchman accomplished the feat. The last time a UNT player won the conference championship was 2015, when Juan Munoz won the tournament.
Rosenmueller tied for 11th at 3-over par, and freshman Vitek Novak tied for 26th at 9-over par.
Snyman now awaits a likely at-large bid to the NCAA regional, as he entered the week as the No. 62 player in the country according to GolfStat's poll.
"Ian will make regionals for sure if the team doesn't," Stracke said. "Ian Snyman is everything you hope to get in a player. He is talented, smart and works his tail off. He's one of the best players I have ever coached."
Final results for the tournament can be found here.
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1. UAB (+8) 288-294-290 -- 872
2. Middle Tennessee St. (+13) 297-285-295 -- 877
3. Charlotte (+16) 302-290-288 -- 880
4. Rice (+17) 303-283-295 -- 881
5. North Texas (+18) 299-290-293 -- 882
6. UT-San Antonio (+21) 296-293-296 -- 885
7. Old Dominion (+25) 300-293-296 -- 889
8. UTEP (+28) 297-300-295 -- 892
9. Western Kentucky (+30) 304-300-290 -- 894
10. Southern Mississippi (+38) 303-293-306 -- 902
11. Louisiana Tech (+50) 315-299-300 -- 914
12. Florida Atlantic (+62) 314-306-306 -- 926
13. Marshall (+67) 310-309-312 -- 931
T2. Ian Snyman (-2)
T11. Thomas Rosenmueller (+3)
T26. Vitek Novak (+9)
T31. Jordan Sanders (+10)
T48. Viktor Forslund (+14)