WKU Hilltopper Golf finished the Ryman Hospitality Intercollegiate with three players in the top 20 individually Tuesday, as the team tied for fifth in the Lipscomb-hosted event.

The Hilltoppers finished with an 876 (296-284-296) total, just two strokes out of third place. Rice won the team title at 860.

“Just past midway through the round, we were just three shots back of Rice after 11 holes,” WKU head coach Phillip Hatchett said. “We let some shots slip away coming down the stretch, which is not like us at all. The course was still soft from all the rain and was receptive to shots coming in, but it was difficult to get the ball in the correct quadrant on the green because of so much spin on the ball. … All in all, a good week and a step in the right direction with us playing ourselves close to the lead without our best stuff.

“We feel like we can simply play our game and be competitive in every tournament we play, and we’re looking forward to the next opportunity to finish the next tournament stronger coming down the stretch.”

Junior Stuart Easton led WKU with a sixth-place result and a 54-hole tally of 216 (74-67-75). It’s his fourth top-10 performance of the season.

“We didn’t have our best golf on the final day, but with nine holes left to play we were only a few shots off the lead which shows we can still compete even when we are not playing our best,” Easton said. “For me, I am a little disappointed I did not have a better final day, but finishing top 10 with two average rounds highlights to me that my game is trending in the right direction. We’re really looking forward to these next two weeks.”

After struggling early with a knee injury, redshirt junior Billy Tom Sargent continued to get better each round, capped by Tuesday’s 1-under 70. He tied for 12th at 219 (78-71-70), his seventh top-20 finish of the season.

“I thought the team made some big strides this week,” Sargent said. “Everyone’s score counted and everyone had some good moments during the tournament. We are all getting closer and closer to playing great at the same time, which will be dangerous when we do. We all really wanted to win this tournament and had a chance with about nine holes to play. There was a lot to learn for everyone this week, and I feel confident moving on. This team is getting close.”

Redshirt sophomore Linus Lo also broke the top 20 in a tie for 17th at 221 (69-75-77), while sophomore Tom Bevington tied for 33rd at 225 (80-71-74). Freshman Crimson Callahan tied for 46th at 228 (75-76-77).

Rice’s Mitchell Meissner and Lipscomb’s Dawson Armstrong shared medalist honors with 208 totals.

The Hilltoppers head quickly into their final event of the regular season, Purdue’s Boilermaker Intercollegiate, which takes place Saturday and Sunday in West Lafayette, Ind.

Ryman Hospitality Intercollegiate Final Results

6. Stuart Easton (74-67-75-216)

T12. Billy Tom Sargent (78-71-70-219)

T17. Linus Lo (69-75-77-221)

T33. Tom Bevington (80-71-74-225)

T46. Crimson Callahan (75-76-77-228)

How to follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Hilltopper Golf, follow the team on Twitter at @WKUMensGolf.

-@WKUSports-

Zach Greenwell

Associate Director

WKU Athletic Communications/Media Relations