On April 17-18, the Harding men’s golf team finished second place with a total score of 579, three strokes behind first-place finisher Arkansas Tech. Junior Mason Banger led the way for the Bisons with a two-under 140 for the tournament, the second-best 36-hole score in the history of the golf program.
Banger started the tournament with an even-par round of 71, three shots behind Arkansas Tech’s Austin Smith. He then came back with a two-under round of 69 on day two, shooting a 5-under score of 30 on the back nine.
“I felt great going into it,” Banger said. “I was hitting the ball really well, and was eager to get started. I played some very good golf. I still have some work to do, but I am very excited about my performance.”
There were 12 teams in the tournament, and Harding had two teams participating. The “B” team finished in seventh place with a team score of 595. Freshman Cooper Dunn was the top scorer for the “B” team with an overall score of 146, which tied him at 15th as an individual.
“I just want to keep the momentum going,” Dunn said. “I want my focus to remain on the process and not the result. If I can do that, I will be okay. As for the team, we just need to keep pushing and encouraging one another. We know that our games are ready for the moment. We just need to trust our practice and let it go.”
With top finishes and low scores coming from both teams this week, it is safe to say that the future of the men’s golf program is bright.
“I think the ‘B’ team had some good rounds this week,” Banger said. “It’s good to see some guys putting in some good rounds. Experience is everything, and the more they get, the easier it will be in the future. Harding golf has a strong future.”
The team’s next tournament will be the Great American Conference (GAC) tournament, beginning on Sunday, April 23 in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It is a three-day, 54-hole tournament, and the team hopes to build on a success from their previous tournament in Heber Springs.
“We each got to work on what we struggled on this past week,” senior Alex Williamson said. “If we each get a little better, then the potential is exponential in terms of dropping shots. We just got to keep it going and do what we know we can.”