Omagh golfer shoots career best in university tournament

Omagh’s Fergal Rafferty shot the lowest round of his American collegiate career as he led the Sam Houston State University men's golf team to fourth place in the University of Texas-San Antonio Invitational in Kerrville, Texas.

Omagh’s Fergal Rafferty shot the lowest round of his American collegiate career as he led the Sam Houston State University men's golf team to fourth place in the University of Texas-San Antonio Invitational in Kerrville, Texas.

Rafferty, who won individual medalist honours as a freshman in a tournament at Louisiana-Lafayette last year, has had a slow start to his sophomore year.

But he made amends in the Bearkats final tournament of the autumn with a last round 67 at the par 72, 7,103-yard Commanche Trace Golf Club, beating his previous low, set last year by two strokes.

The former Ulster youths and Irish Under-18 home international team member recorded a nine-under-par 54-hole total of 207 (71-69-67), to claim fifth place in the individual medalist competition, seven strokes behind winner Brent Long of Western Kentucky, who won with a tournament record 16-under 200 (69-68-63).

Rafferty’s UTSA scored a combined 870 for fourth behind team champions Saint John's, who won with a 54-hole score of 844.

On the eastern seaboard, Galway’s Sinead O’Sullivan helped East Tennessee State’s women’s team to sixth place in the Edwin Watts/Palmetto Intercollegiate tournament at the Oak Point Golf Club in Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

The Buccaneers finished 23 strokes off the pace set by team champion East Carolina, but ETSU gained some momentum for the spring season when they outscored higher ranked teams such as Iowa State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Baylor and Miami and Atlantic Sun Conference foes Campbell.

“It was a big positive for us to beat Campbell, because they’re our biggest conference rival,” ETSU head coach Stefanie Reynolds Shelton said. “But it’s also good to beat teams that are ranked higher than us right now, like Iowa State, Indiana and Baylor.”

Sophomore O’Sullivan finished tied for 47th.

In Greensboro, North Carolina, Banbridge’s Toledo senior Ciaran McAleavey tied for 57th place with an 11-over par 227 (77-73-77) as his team finished the UNCG Bridgestone Golf College Classic in 15th place.

Louisville edged Mississippi State by three strokes with a four-under par 860 to capture the team title.

The tournament featured eight of the Top 40 ranked teams on the US collegiate circuit and was played at Forest Oaks Country Club, host of the Wyndham Championship PGA Tour event.

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