NICEVILLE, Fla. (4/23/03) - The North Texas men's golf team captured the 2003 Sun Belt Conference Championship with a final round 296 at Bluewater Bay Golf Course and Resort to win by ten strokes and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Regional Championship. Senior Brad Besler won the individual crown for the Mean Green while head coach Jim Bob Jackson was named Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year.
"It was a great win for the guys. They played extremely well right from the start," said Jackson. "Brad played really well and he's been capable of that all year long and he just peaked at the right time for us".
The conference title is the first for North Texas since winning the Big West Championship in 1999 and the individual title by Besler is the first by a Mean Green golfer since Ryan Palmer won the Southland Conference title in 1996.
"The goal was to win the tournament as a team and I was just lucky enough to win. It was a great tournament as a team and it just feel good to win it" said Besler.
Besler was victorious by one stroke over Barrett Jarosch of Denver after shooting a final round 72 to end the tournament at seven-under par 209. Zach Atkinson finished in third place with a three round score of one-under par 215. North Texas also had a top ten finish from Freddy Espericueta as he was five-over par for the tournament to place tied for tenth.
Besler was named to the All-Sun Belt Conference Team for the second straight year while Atkinson earned all-conference honors for the first time. North Texas will move onto the compete in the Central Region Championship for the first time since the 2000 season.
On the women's side North Texas wrapped up a solid tournament to finish in fourth place with a three-round total of 942. New Mexico State won the team title for the third straight year. Senior Randi Gauthier shot a final round 76 to place tied for fourth.
Freshman Andra Lancaster just missed out on a top ten finish with a three round score of 230 to finish in 11th place. Laura Rakel had her best round of the tournament with a final round 77 to place tied for 22nd.
Gauthier was named to the All-Sun Belt Conference Team for the second straight year and will now wait for a possible second straight NCAA Central Region at-large bid.
North Texas Scores
1 Brad Besler 69 68 72 209
T3 Zach Atkinson 71 68 76 215
T10 Freddy Espericueta 71 75 75 221
T15 Brad Gibson 76 74 73 223
T26 Thomas Kulcak 70 78 79 227
T4 Randi Gauthier 75 75 76 226
11 Andra Lancaster 73 75 82 230
T22 Laura Rakel 83 81 77 241
T32 Kasey Hardin 89 82 80 251
T37 Jaclyn Golden 83 90 82 255