Oklahoma Christian University’s men’s golf team finished their season with a streak of victories and memorable moments on the greens.
The team’s first major success was qualifying for the NCAA Division II men’s golf championships for the second season in a row. After dominating match play against Simon Fraser and West Florida, the Eagles won their quarterfinal match against No. 8 seed Simon Fraser 3-1-1 and earned a chance to play for the national championship. Alejandro Armijo, Exequiel Rodriguez and Mateo Pulcini stood out as strong performers, scoring crucial points for the matches.
Alejandro Armijo, all-star scholarship awardee, said defeating the best teams in the league kept the Eagles’ spirits up throughout the season.
“Some of the teams we played against were Division I, and we are Division II,” Alejandro said. “But winning against them made us confident that we could win, even at nationals.”
The Eagles finished as national runner-up for the NCAA Division II men’s golf championship. On the 14th hole of their championship match, Oklahoma Christian took their first lead at 3-2, but Nova Southeastern inevitably prevailed with a 3-2-0 score, earning their third title in eleven years.
Exequiel Rodriguez, a player on the team, still said the team accomplished everything they set out for themselves.
“Throughout the season, we played excellent golf. We had great expectations for ourselves and were capable of exceeding them, in my opinion, as we accomplished every goal we set for ourselves, the most important of which was to compete for another title,” Exequiel said. “We always had a fantastic time and loved tournaments as a group, which made the season enjoyable even during the difficult moments.”
The Eagles’ outstanding season culminated with a second straight trip to the NCAA Division II men’s golf championships, a distinction only 14 other teams have been able to achieve in the NCAA Division II men’s golf championships’ 60-year history.
The team also collected other honors and rewards throughout the season. Ezequiel Rodriguez was awarded Lone Star Conference (LSC) Player of the Month and was the first person in program history to receive LSC Player of the Year.
Head coach David Lynn was inducted into the renowned GCAA Hall of Fame and awarded Dave Willam Coach of the Year. This marks the second time in his career he has received this honor at the NCAA Division II level. Previously, he won the award when participating at the NAIA level in 2011.
Three-time LSC Coach of the Year Lynn guided Oklahoma Christian to 12 top-five finishes, three tournament victories, including the UC San Diego Invitational against multiple Division I teams, and their second consecutive national runner-up finish. Three PING All-Region golfers led the Eagles on the course, and four Eagles earned the 2023 NCAA Division II PING All-American honors, including Exequiel Rodriguez, Mateo Pulcini, Alejandro Armijo, and Oskari Nikku.
Exequiel Rodriguez, shooting -0.63 over forty rounds while also winning the LSC individual championship, earned second-team All-American honors.
Mateo Pulcini capped off a great career at Oklahoma Christian by earning a place on the third All-American team and obtaining an All-American spot for the third year in a row (2021 first-team, 2022 honorable mention).
Alejandro Armijo and Oskari Nikku each earned honors for the first time, making the honorable mention team to put four Eagles on the PING All-American team for the first time in the school’s NCAA Division II history and the fifth time in program history that Oklahoma Christian put four players on the PING All-American teams.
Alejandro said the Oklahoma Christian men’s golf team was the best he has played with.
“I feel blessed to have played with all the boys,” Alejandro said. “I also want to thank Coach Lynn for believing in us and making us the best players that we could be. He worked hard to make us believe in ourselves.”