Loyola men’s golf makes history again, Philip Nijoka named to All-Tournament Team at SSAC Championship

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(Montgomery, Ala.) Following a memorable second round yesterday, the Loyola University New Orleans men’s golf team headed back to the Arrowhead Country Club in Montgomery, Alabama one final time of Wednesday morning to wrap up play at the 2017 Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Men’s Golf Championship.

The first two days of action from Arrowhead were historic for the Wolf Pack as the team started the tournament by breaking the program record for lowest 18-round score ever (297). The squad followed that impressive performance by shattering the same record on Tuesday after carding a program best 287 to head into today’s round in fourth place.

Although Loyola was unable to break the low-round record for the third-straight time on Wednesday, the team managed to put up a respectable 301 in Montgomery to end the tournament with a total score of 885 (+33) to leave in sixth place. The Wolf Pack’s 885 total marked the lowest tournament score ever for the team and it bested the squad’s previous best performance in the SSAC Championship by an astounding 29 strokes (909 – 2016).

No. 3 Dalton State dominated from the first tee off until final putt, tallying an 829 (-23) in the tournament to claim the 2017 SSAC Championship by a remarkable 32 strokes over Coastal Georgia (861, +9).

The Roadrunners featured the three top finishers in the tournament, highlighted by medalist’s S.M. Lee’s 206 (-7). Lee was the heavy favorite to claim this year’s title as he entered the tournament as the No. 2 ranked individual in the NAIA.

Not one to shy away from the spotlight, Loyola sophomore Philip Nijoka (SO/Houston, Texas) recorded one of the most impressive performances in the history of the program over the last three days. Not only was his finish (T5) the best ever in the SSAC Championship for a Wolf Pack men’s golfer but he also became the first Loyola golfer in history to be named to the SSAC Championship All-Tournament Team. Finishing the tournament with a solid 212 (-1), Philip’s third round 69 marks the lowest round ever shot by a Wolf Pack golfer – beating the record (70) that was shared by himself and his brother Mark.

Speaking of Mark, he too had a great performance over the three-day event at Arrowhead. Nijoka finished tied for 17th at the championship after tallying a +5 221 (75,70,76), highlighted by a then-record 70 on Tuesday.

Ryan Hicks (SO/Santa Monica, Calif.) leaves Montgomery tied for 24th with a 225 (75,72,78) while Jose Perez (SO/Pichincha, Ecuador ) ends the tournament tied for 31st after carding a 230 (76,76,78).

After making one of the biggest jumps of the team on Tuesday, Jack Dickson (FR/Oldsmar, Fla.) fell three spots on Wednesday to wrap up play in 37th with a 235 (84,73,78).

Individual Leaderboard

1. S.M. Lee -7 206 (68, 70, 68)

2. P.J. Shields -5 208 (68, 67, 73)

3. Chase Cole -4 209 (74, 68, 67)

4. Paxton Shuman -3 210 (70, 70, 70)

5. Philip Nijoka -1 212 (71, 72, 69)

5. Ben Rebne -1 212 (68, 73, 71)

7. Walker Gordon +4 217 (73, 72, 72)

7. Lauri Hacklin +4 217 (76, 69, 72)

7. Shane Wright +4 217 (72, 69, 76)

10. Rob Gray +5 218 (76, 71, 71)

10. Seth Sanders +5 218 (74, 72, 72)

10. Tristan Hernandez +5 218 (72, 75, 71)

Team Leaderboard

1. Dalton State -23 829 (278, 278, 273)

2. Coastal Georgia +9 861 (292, 286, 283)

3. Faulkner +23 875 (290, 289, 296)

4. Mobile +25 877 (294, 304, 279)

5. William Carey +28 880 (293, 296, 291)

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