The GCU club golf team is still young but coach John Wasson already believed he had a national contender building this season.
That vision came to fruition Sunday in Sedona, where the Lopes clinched a spot in the National Collegiate Club Golf Association Spring National Championship by winning the team regional tournament title at Oakcreek Country Club.
GCU needed to win the two-round Desert Region weekend tourney outright for an automatic national championship bid. The Lopes responded by beating runner-up Golf Academy of Chandler by 22 strokes and third-place Arizona State by 44 strokes. The Lopes also shared a regional tournament title with ASU in February.
“I could see this coming,” Wasson said of his team, which is ranked fifth nationally by NextGenGolf. “I knew we had good players.”
GCU’s Joey Russo led the way by playing six-over par for two rounds to finish in a tie with ASU’s Sam Glennon, who won a two-hole playoff for the tournament’s individual title.
“Joey’s game is really improving,” Wasson said. “He’s always been a good player. From the fall until now, this is the best he has played.”
The Lopes thrived off depth wtih Jordan Yamamoto, Zachary Capel and Cole Anderson tying for fourth place at nine-over par. William McMahon IV, playing for the GCU “B” team, also finished in the top 10 in ninth place at 11-over par.
GCU will be among 31 qualifiers for the NCCGA Spring National Championship, which will be played in Hot Springs, Ark., on April 29 and 30. Georgia won the fall national championship.