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Men’s golf looks to exceed high expectations

The Oklahoma Christian University men’s golf team came into the 2021-2022 season with high expectations. The Eagles are ranked No. 1 in their region and No. 14 in the Division II coaches poll. 

They opened their season on Sept. 14 by placing fourth at the Great American Conference Preview in Oklahoma City. They then tied for first at the Missouri Southern Fall Invitational. 

Junior Alejandro Armijo said he likes what he has seen from the team so far. 

“We have started off nicely so far,” Armijo said. “There is obviously room to improve and get better but I think we have gotten off to a pretty good start.” 

The team did not let the high ranking and expectations get to them during the offseason, knowing what they have to do so succeed.

“We knew how good we could be and how good we have been in the past, but we focused on ourselves and getting better every day,” Armijo said.

Eagles golf was a consistent team in the top 25 programs in the country last season, and they were ranked top in their region throughout the year. They closed their impressive 2020-2021 season by winning the Lone Star Conference Championships, but they placed sixth in the NCAA Regional Championship.

“We were able to achieve a lot last season but it did end in a bit of a disappointment,” sophomore Chase Gardner said. “We know winning a conference causes us to have a bit of a target on our backs, but we do a good job of doing our thing and getting better day by day. It really doesn’t get to us much at all.”

The Eagles are set for their third tournament of the year in Pueblo, Colorado in the NCAA Division II Regional Preview. They had their practice round on Sunday, Oct. 3, and the first round began on Oct. 4. 

“The practice round gives us a chance to see how the course is playing and what the conditions will be over the next couple of days,”  Armijo said. “We feel good going into this one, trying to get the true first place finish instead of tying like we did last week.”

After the first day of play, Oklahoma Christian ranks No. 1 on the leaderboard, sitting at 10 under par and leading the field by three strokes. Armijo leads the Eagles at three under, and he is currently tied for eighth in the field. Mateo Pulcini and Santiago Villareal both sit tied for 15th at two under par after round one. 

The final round concludes Tuesday, Oct. 5 as Oklahoma Christian hopes to hang on to their first place spot in addition to their play to begin the new season.

“It’s a long season, we have started off pretty well actually but we have to keep getting better as the season goes on,” Gardner said.

Armijo knows what this team can do and is liking where this team is headed.

“I’m confident in the team and where we are headed,” Armijo said. “We can’t get ahead of ourselves, and [have to] take it one day at a time.”

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