AUBURN, Ala. - The UAB men's golf team (301-277-298-876) defeated No. 21 Arkansas (294-290-292-876) on the third playoff hole to win the team championship at the 16th-annual Billy Hitchcock Intercollegiate on the par-72, 6,689-yard Saugahatchee Country Club, on Sunday. It marked the first tournament win in the 2002-03 season for the Blazers.
UAB defeated the12-team field, which included four ranked squads. Also joining the Razorbacks in the top-25 entering the event were No. 13 Auburn, No. 18 College of Charleston and No. 24 Vanderbilt.
Freshman Nathan Turner led the Blazers, firing a seven-under 209 (69-70-70) to win the individual competition. Turner captured career-highs of single round score (69 - first round), three-round score (209) and highest finish in a tournament. Turner finished five strokes ahead of Ty Harris (Georgia State) and Bruce McDonald (College of Charleston).
'I have to give our team, and especially Nathan (Turner) credit for a great and gutsy performance,' UAB head coach Alan Kaufman said. 'Our guys could have given up at the end, but they were able to come through in the playoff and earn a very deserving victory.'
After starting the tournament in seventh place after carding a first-round 301, the Blazers set a new 18-hole course record on Saturday with a 277. UAB followed that performance with a 298 to finish in a tie for the championship title with the Razorbacks. UAB captured a season-best single-round score of 277 and its tournament score of 876 was the second best score of the season.
No. 18 College of Charleston and Georgia State finished tied for third with an 881. No. 13 Auburn had an 882 for fifth, followed by #24 Vanderbilt (884), Mississippi State (896), Florida State (900), Southeastern Louisiana (900), Alabama (901), Memphis (904) and Ole Miss (905).
Other Blazer performers included freshman Tigh Van Leeuwen who shot a six-over 222 (77-70-75) to finish in a tie for 21st overall. Freshman Clark Brown (76-72-76-224) and sophomore Chris Cousins (79-67-78-224) completed play in a tie for 26th overall, while Ryan Thomas (81-70-77-228) finished in a tie for 39th overall.
UAB will next travel to Lake Jovita, Fla. To participate in the 2003 Conference USA golf championship on April 20-23.