SILVIS, Ill. — Playing in the final round of the NAIA National Championships for just the second time in team history, the Lee University Flames shot a 309 in Friday’s final round to finish in a tie for 10th place. The Flames dropped five spots in the final day, as they entered Friday tied for fifth.
The 1,199 overall score is good for the Flames first Top 10 finish in program history. Earlier this season the Lady Flames finished tied for the 10th spot in the NAIA women’s competition in Greeneville, also a program first.
“We are certainly disappointed in our round today, as our goal was to play better than what we did,” said Lee coach John Maupin. “We felt like we had a good opportunity to finish in the top five, and we weren’t quite able to hang on to that.”
“However, today’s disappointment doesn’t change the fact that we had an extremely positive week,” said Maupin optimistically. “This is the highest finish we have ever had at the national tournament, and I think that is a great accomplishment.”
Jeremy Lawson closed out the tournament as Lee’s top performer, shooting a five over par, 76. For the week, Lawson finished tied for No. 20 at 12 over par.
Playing close behind Lawson, JB Eksteen shot an 80 on Friday’s final day to finish at 14 over for the week, tied for No. 24. Tyler Smith followed with a 77, tying for No. 42 overall.
Caleb Roberson and Hunter Vest closed out the Lee players, finishing at 26 and 27 over respectively. Roberson finished tied for No. 68, with Vest tied at No. 74.
“I really want to credit the guys with how hard they played this week,” added Maupin. “JB (Eksteen), Jeremy (Lawson), Tyler (Smith), Caleb (Roberson), and Hunter (Vest) were all big contributors and I am proud of all of them. I think that we learned a lot from this week that we can apply in the future.”
Oklahoma Christian dominated the tournament in the overall and individual results, winning the team national championship by 22 strokes over British Columbia. The Eagles finished the week at 14 over par.
Oscar Stark led the individual standings all week long, finishing as the only competitor under par. Stark shot a 73 in the final round, ending the week at four under par, five strokes ahead of teammate Axel Ochoa.
“I feel like we really turned some heads this week and gained a lot of notoriety for our program,” added Maupin in conclusion. “This top 10 finish is a great stepping stone into next season.”