KINGSTON SPRINGS, Tenn. – Lifted by a school-record performance from individual medalist Ben Crancer, the Texas A&M men’s golf team enjoyed an impressive runner-up showing at the Dick’s Challenge Cup.
Following up a second-round 63 on Friday, Crancer (68-63-66=197, -16) fired a 66 on his return to the course Saturday to claim the top spot in the Texas A&M record book for lowest 54-hole score vs. par. The previous record was 13-under par, held by a quartet of Aggies - Jordan Russell (2010 Topy Cup of Japan), Bronson Burgoon (2008 John Burns Intercollegiate), Jeff Maggert (1986 Morris Williams Intercollegiate) and Philip Parkin (1984 All-American Intercollegiate).
Crancer also became the first Aggie to ever finish 54 holes with less than 200 strokes.
“Ben was in complete control all weekend,” Texas A&M head coach J.T. Higgins said. “Today it seemed like every couple holes he’d gain a shot to par. He was six-under through 16 but bogeyed the last hole, which he’s pretty upset about. To shoot 16-under on this golf course and blow the field away like that is outstanding. He was in total control of his golf ball and was chipping and putting great. Ben was the complete package this weekend.”
The Kirkwood, Mo., native carded six final-round birdies to edge second-place finisher Joey Garber of Georgia (67-70-67=204, -9) by seven strokes.
As a team, the Aggies (286-271-280=837, -15) ended play just five shots behind team champion Georgia (274-284-274=832, -20). Clemson, Tennessee and Vanderbilt rounded out the top five in the standings and were followed consecutively by Virginia, Mississippi State, Wake Forest, Duke and Boston College.
“I think that we are going to be so much better for the experience we had here this weekend,” Higgins added. “The guys are obviously disappointed that we didn’t get the win, but Georgia’s got a great team this year and they really played well down the stretch. I think it was good for us to go through that, to be in the hunt and for it to be that competitive all the way through. It shows that we have the ability to be one of the best teams in the country.”
Sophomore Andrew Lister (74-69-69=212, -1) fired his second straight round under-par on Saturday to notch his first career top-10 placing, finishing in a tie for 10th.
Meanwhile, junior Ty Dunlap (70-72-74=216, +3) ended stroke play with a share of 17th place. Senior Jade Scott (79-67-71=217, +4) and sophomore Adrià Arnaus (74-76-81=231, +18) finished in ties for 19th and 42nd place, respectively.
Saturday’s third round signaled the completion of the stroke play portion of the event at the Golf Club of Tennessee. On Sunday as part of the ACC-SEC Challenge, the field will be divided up along conference lines and pit the five SEC schools against the five ACC schools against one another in match play.
“To be honest, tomorrow is supposed to be fun, but it counts,” Higgins said. “We’re squaring off with Virginia and they’ve got a great team. We’re going to get a taste of match play and our goal is to be back in match play as one of the final eight teams at the NCAA Championship in Kansas later in the year. The more experience we can get in this format the better. We’re going to take it seriously and go out there to try and win the match.”