Rice repeat: Benson wins C-USA golf championship

Jake Benson wins C-USA individual golf championship

By Tim Andrzejewski

Sophomore Jake Benson carded a final-round 73 on Tuesday to finish 5-under par overall and win the 2019 Conference USA (C-USA) men’s golf championship by one stroke at the par-72, 6,935-yard Texarkana Country Club.

Benson’s victory, the first of his career, earned him a spot in the NCAA regionals set for May 13-15.

Benson is the Owls’ third C-USA individual champion and the second in as many years, joining Christopher Brown in 2010 and Mitchell Meissner last year. It is the second time in school history that Rice has won consecutive individual conference golf championships, joining Buddy Weaver’s back-to-back Southwest Conference titles in 1950 and 1951.

Rice is one of four schools to win at least three C-USA individual championships, joining the University of Alabama at Birmingham (four) and a pair of former member schools, the University of Houston (four) and Texas Christian University (three).

Benson started slow in his final round, sandwiching a pair of bogeys around a birdie in the first three holes. After pars on the next two holes, he bogeyed the sixth but got that stroke back with a birdie on the seventh hole. He then straightened things out, recording pars on the final 11 holes to finish 1-over for the day.

Benson’s 54-hole score of 211 tied Meissner’s 2018 performance for the second-lowest by a Rice golfer in the C-USA tournament since joining the league in 2005.

As a team, Rice shot 1-under 287 in the final round to finish at 8-over and in fifth place, ending its season.

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