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Men’s golf team claims SCIAC crown

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Dominic Honoré
Staff Writer

The La Verne men’s golf team finished their season with a bang last weekend, securing the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship.

The competition was down to the wire at the season ending tournament Thursday through Saturday at Brookside Country Club in Pasadena.

The Leopards shot 2057, narrowly besting both Redlands (2061) and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (2063).

Senior Hisham Hussein says he is proud to have helped the team win its first SCIAC title in six years.

“Looking back to my first year with our team coming in last place to my final year with us winning the championship; there is no better feeling,” Huissein said.

Graduate assistant coach Jim Nicholson reflected on the long journey of the golf team always coming up short in the past.

“We’ve come in second every year prior and it was always against CMS,” Nicholson said. “So to go out there this weekend and fight harder mentally and physically for three days, it showed we were better than them when we needed to be.”

Two Leopards stood out during the tournament. 

Sophomore Pitiluk Phanomchai, who was 2018 First Team All-SCIAC, and Ken Sherman, SCIAC Newcomer of the Year, placed second in the tournament with an overall score of 216.

“It feels good to have done that because I’ve worked so hard all season and it all finally came together,” Phanomchai said.

 Hussein tied for fourth place with a total score of 220.

He finished strong in his last round with two birdies at the last four holes.

“It wasn’t my best performance, as I wish I could have hit more birdies, but I was just glad to contribute to the team’s win overall,” Hussein said.

Head coach Eric Riehle commended his team on their performance and their hard work to overcome certain obstacles.

“I am just really proud of our team,” Riehle said. “The hurdle that we were struggling to get over all year, was being able to close rounds and close tournaments out and I feel like we did that so well today all three rounds, it was really impressive.”

Last year’s Second Team All-SCIAC honoree, senior Conner Davis, says the team came into the tournament with victory being the only goal in mind.

“After seven rounds, it’s a hard and long process,” Davis said. “We knew we could win if we stayed focused and that was our only goal to be sure that we were in on every shot and competing at every opportunity we had today.”

Davis tied for 12th place, shooting 225 overall.

Junior Jason Brown tied for 18th, shooting a final round of 73 and a tournament score of 227.

Freshman Connor Dunlop tied for 18th alongside Brown in his first SCIAC championship. 

Sophomore Jake Littlejohn tied for 23rd place, hitting three birdies in the final round and ending with a total score of 230.

The Leopards will now head to the NCAA Division III National Championship tournament, held May 14-17 at the Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Kentucky.

Dominic Honoré can be reached at dominic.honore@laverne.edu.

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