Tech Men's Golf Team No. 9 in Latest Rankings|
Feb. 23, 2009
LUBBOCK, Texas - For the first time in head coach Greg Sands' tenure the Texas Tech men's golf team is ranked among the top 10 teams nationally, according to the latest Golfweek collegiate golf rankings. The Red Raiders have made appearances just outside of the top 10 during Sands' nine seasons, but has never cracked the list.
"I'm proud of the way the guys have played and they deserve the ranking," Sands said. "However, we still need to improve and we know we can be better than No. 9. The guys aren't satisfied with where we are and realize there is a lot more to do. It's nice that people are taking notice. It comes back to the hard work the guys have put in."
The Red Raiders dominated the UTSA Intercollegiate last week in San Antonio, setting school records for lowest round (266, 2nd round) and three-round total (824). Additionally, four Red Raiders finished among the top 10 as Chris Ward, Nils Floren, Garrett Merrell and Santiago Rivas each shot under par for the event. Ward's 11-under 202 gave him medalist honors over Floren, who finished second with an 8-under 205. Merrell tied in third with a 3-under 210, while Rivas carded a 1-under 212. Will Griffin finished in an 11th-place tie with a 1-over 214.
The Red Raiders bested the second-place team in the field by 20 strokes and dominated from start to finish. Tech's 266 in the second round shattered the previous school single-round record of 272, set by the 2007 squad at the UH-Hilo Intercollegiate. The team's final total of 824 topped the previous mark of 826, set at the 2006 Jerry Pate Invitational.
Merrell, the nation's 22nd-ranked golfer, leads the team with a 71.2 stroke average and has seven sub-par rounds of the 15 he's played this season. The senior is only 4-over par in five tournaments this season. Floren, appearing in his second collegiate tournament last week, is averaging 71.0 strokes per round with two of his six total rounds on the year in the 60s and three better than par.
Texas Tech next plays at the University of South Florida Invitational March 6-8 in Dade City, Fla.