MU men's golfers win fourth straight tournament at Mizzou Intercollegiate

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 | 9:56 p.m. CDT; updated 10:13 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 5, 2011

COLUMBIA — The Missouri men’s golf team claimed its fourth tournament victory in a row today, beating Eastern Michigan by 22 strokes and Nebraska by 23 to win the Mizzou Intercollegiate at the Club at Old Hawthorne.

“I’ve had some pretty good teams in 15 years," MU coach Mark Leroux said. “But I think these guys are the best I’ve ever had. I’m awful proud of them and if they can convince me next week, I’ll say they’re the best."

His team plays at the Hawkeye Invitational on April 16 in Iowa City, Iowa.

Sophomores Jace Long and Stuart Ballingall led the Tigers. They shot 900 in the two-day 54-hole tournament. Long, who has claimed Missouri's lowest score in three of the past four matches, won the tournament with a 216. Ballingall shot an even-par 72 in the final round, the Tigers’ lowest score of the day. He finished second at 220.

“It’s exciting to see that you’re helping your team out,” Long said. “I think it benefits the other guys and makes them push themselves harder.”

The Tigers’ play this season has made it hard for the team to ignore the inevitable: The NCAA Championship, which will be held from May 31 through June 3, in Stillwater, Okla.

“It’s there,” Long said. “We talk about it amongst ourselves, and we’re confident in our ability to get there.”

Leroux has a much more step-by-step philosophy.

“We’ll enjoy this today,” Leroux said about the Tigers’ win. “Then we’ll turn our attention to next week and go to Iowa to do it again.”

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