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Vela Leads Men’s Golf to Second at Heartland

DALLAS – Matt Vela fired a final round 72 to finish second overall and led a final round charge by St. Mary’s University as the Rattlers finished second at the Heartland Conference Men’s Golf Tournament, played on Tuesday at the Golf Club of Dallas.

Vela (Fr., San Antonio) finished with a three-round total of 215 (69-74-72) to place second behind Matthew Hatcher of St. Edward’s University, who carded a 212 (70-70-72). Noah Smithson of Newman University finished third, six strokes out of the lead and Connor Smith of host Dallas Baptist University was fourth, eight strokes back. For Vela, it was his ninth top-10 finish of the season in 11 tournaments and his seventh straight. He now has a 73.2 stroke average for the season, which ranks fourth in St. Mary’s school history.

Jimmy Willingham (Sr., San Antonio) finished 10th overall with a three-round total of 224 (75-74-75). Preston Akromis (Jr., San Antonio) shook off a slow start to the tournament and finished just two strokes behind him, tied for 11th with a total of 226 (79-74-73). James Grant (So., San Antonio) placed 19th overall with a 230 (77-77-76). Jerry Holguin (Fr., San Antonio) finished 30th with a 243 (82-77-84).

In the team standings, St. Edward’s took top honors, totaling 875 (287-291-297) for the three rounds, 20 strokes ahead of St. Mary’s (300-299-296 – 895). Dallas Baptist and Lincoln University tied for third with identical 902s, while University of the Incarnate Word was fifth with a 915, Newman was sixth with a 916 and Oklahoma Panhandle State University was seventh with a 979.

The Rattlers will now wait to see if they receive an invitation to the NCAA South Central Region Tournament, which will be played on May 5-7 at The Golf Club at Circle C in Austin.