POTTSBORO, Texas – One stroke, one swing and one extra look at the hole was all that stood in the way of a first-place finish for Rattler Sam Jernigan.
Jernigan came just short of the top spot in the Texoma Chevy Dealers Intercollegiate Tuesday, impressively finishing in second and launching St. Mary’s to a third-place team victory at the tournament hosted by Texas A&M-Commerce.
Jernigan’s (Sr., San Antonio) first round saw an above-par 77 strokes that he would perfect in the final two rounds that would ultimately carry him to a second-place finish. Slicing his count down six strokes in the following rounds to swing below par at 71 is what ended the veteran’s day on a triumphant note that extended to the rest of the Rattlers.
Jernigan’s precision at the tee nestled St. Mary’s into a plaque-earning position, finishing third out of the tournament’s 14 teams. As in the story told of Jernigan, the Rattlers were one stroke away from being a second-place finisher and achieving their best finish of the season. One stroke away or not however, St. Mary’s showed prowess on the green.
Rattlers Chris Becker (Sr., San Antonio) and Matthew Van Winkle (Fr., Castroville, Texas) also had top-10 finishes, both tying for ninth place. Becker finished a head-turning first round of an under-par 70, one stroke away from leading the entire tournament in best round after Southern Arkansas University’s Travis Chrietzberg, who tied with Jernigan for second after swinging for 69 in the opening round.
Becker went 79 and 77 for the final two rounds. Van Winkle had a steady game, shooting 76 and 77 for the first day of the tournament before improving to 73 for the final round. Freshman Kyle Becker (San Antonio) had a 16th-place finish, hitting two strokes above par in the final round at 74.
If the Rattlers, and Jernigan in particular, weren’t already on the Heartland Conference’s radar, the Texoma Chevy Dealers Intercollegiate has certainly put them on the map.