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The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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Smith Battled in Playoff Situation at SAC Championship

The Drovers placed 4th in their final tournament of the season
Emily Loughridge
A large gallery of people watch as Caleb Smith and Chayan Duha play hole 10 for the title of individual champion.

NAIA ranked #24 USAO’s men’s golf team had a memorable time in the SAC Championship tournament, which was hosted at the Sand Creek Station Golf Course (Par 72, 6911 yards) in Newton, Kansas Monday, Apr. 29 through Tuesday, Apr. 30.

The Drovers were one of seven teams slated to compete. Teams saw near perfect conditions for their first round, as there was not a drop of wind, but by the end of the event the wind was howling, and it began raining.

The Drovers took their top five players to compete, including sophomore Conner Cryer, senior Jax Brewer, sophomore Jaeden Ellis, senior Caleb Smith, and freshman Cooper Hardison. As a team, USAO finished 4th with scores of 292 (+4), 303 (+15), and 304 (+16) for a total of 899 (+35).

Smith, the team’s four bag, had an insane opportunity for his last three rounds of collegiate golf as he tied for 1st and was sent into a playoff situation. Starting at the beginning, Smith shot two under par in his first round, as he tallied four birdies and two bogeys. The wind began to pick up in the second round, but Smith adapted and recorded 73 (+1). The third round is where a lot of players struggled; Smith grinded through the last 18 holes where he recorded 14 pars and two birdies.

He finished the tournament even par, thinking he played his final hole of college golf; however, Chayan Duha, from Texas Wesleyan University (TWU), who had dominated the tournament all week began slipping. After day one, Duha sat ten under par, but the wind got the best of him, and he ended the tournament even par. Meaning Smith and Duha were tied for 1st and were sent into a playoff situation, where they would have to play additional holes until one player came out victorious.

Both players plus a gallery of a dozen golf cars and several dozen more people, walked to hole ten for the playoff competition. The TWU men’s team started an Instagram live to cheer on Duha while several of the golf teams, families, and spectators gathered around to support. The players matched each other shot for shot on the par 5 hole, until they approached the green. Duha won the hole and walked away as the champion. This is the first 54-hole tournament that Smith won in his college career.

Cryer, the team’s one bag, made history as he is the first Drover to earn an All-SAC selection. He was awarded a 1st Team All-Conference honor. In the tournament, Cryer finished tied 11th and had a total of 223 (+7). He shot 72 (E), 76 (+4), and 75 (+3). He recorded five birdies overall.

Brewer, the team’s two bag, was next for the Drovers with a 21st finish. His recorded rounds of 76 (+4), 76 (+4), and 79 (+7) for a total of 231 (+15). Brewer marked five birdies on his scorecard and contributed all three of his rounds to the team.

The lone freshman and five bag, Hardison contributed two of his rounds to the team’s overall score. His first round was 74 (+2) followed by an 84 (+12). He recovered in round three to score 77 (+5).

Ellis, the team’s three bag, rounded out the team with scores of 79 (+7), 78 (+6), and 81 (+9) for a total of 238 (+22).

The team recorded 30 birdies, with Smith leading the team with eight. Ellis followed closely with seven birdies. The team also recorded 58 bogeys, 11 double bogeys, and two triple bogeys.

The team concluded their season in Kansas. USAO will be back in action in action this fall for their next season.


Emily Loughridge is a fourth-year communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributor
Emily Loughridge
Emily Loughridge, Editor-in-Chief
Emily is a fourth-year communication major from Union City. Emily is obtaining minors in psychology and liberal arts, as well. She has been on staff for The Trend since the fall of 2021 and loves working with the writers on ideas! Emily also works in the Sports Information Department on campus as the Student Assistant. When she isn't studying or working, Emily can normally be found watching Scrubs, Reba, or How I Met Your Mother and enjoying ice cream with her boyfriend.   Experience with The Trend: Editor-in-Chief: Dec. 2022 - present Managing Editor: May 2022 - Nov. 2022 Contributing Writer: Aug. 2021 - April 2022