“Last week we had a lead in a big tournament, and had a rough final round,” noted the coach. “You just don’t know how a team will respond to something like that. They led wire to wire, and as far as I know set a school record for 54 holes in relation to par at -13. Again, that takes a total team effort.”
With freshman Florian Loutre leading the way, Lee posted rounds of 282, 284, 285 (851) and won the championship by four strokes over Faulkner University (855). Coastal Georgia (863) rounded out the top three finishers in the 11-team tourney.
Loutre capped his third straight sub-par round with a chip-in at 18 and his score (70-67-70 -207) was good enough to claim the medalist honors over teammate Matt Emery (69-71-72 – 212), and Faulkner’s twosome of Daniel Jansen and Brandon Godwin.
“Florian (Loutre) and Matt (Emery) were absolute horses this week; six rounds between them and not a one over par,” Maupin stressed. “That is stepping up in a big way. I’m happy for Florian because he’s been through a lot of adversity this year, and I know it’s been a struggle at times. He showed his ability this week though, -9 (for 54 holes) is just incredible. Matt was a steadying force and a tremendous leader all week.”
Hunter Vest stepped up with a 69 on Wednesday and joined Loutre and Emery on the all-tournament team with his eighth-place finish (75-73-69 – 217). JB Eksteen rounded out the scores that counted for the Flames during the final day. He totaled 70-76-74 – 220, while freshman Peyton Sliger tallied a 78 and finished tied for 23rd (224).
“Hunter (Vest) shoots a bogey-free 69 on the final day as the first man out and had a 33 on the back. I can’t overstate how much guts that takes,” the coach added. “Peyton (Sliger) struggled today but he never quit fighting and for a freshman to give us two rounds of around par was big. Lastly, JB (Eksteen) finished like a senior today. He was plus-3 through 12, and closed at -1, he really came through.”
“I couldn’t be any prouder of these guys,” said Maupin. “They played outstanding this week. First and foremost, we were pushed to the limit by two great teams, Faulkner and Coastal Georgia. It took a great team effort to pull this thing out. This is the deepest our conference has been in a long time. Coastal is very talented and Faulkner has a lot of experience on this course. We knew they would make it tough, but our guys played so hard. I’m just really a proud coach today.
“This tournament was important to us because it’s our final year in the conference and we wanted to go out the right way,” said the coach.” I’m happy that our seniors can leave with back-to-back championships. This was an exciting tournament, and we are looking forward to getting another chance at the NAIA Championship in Oregon.”