Lee Men Win D2 National Golf Championship
Saturday, May 21, 2022
The men’s golf team (L-R) Assistant Coach Evan Spence, Connor Pollman, Dalton Chuba, Head Coach John Maupin, Dustin DeMersseman, Oliver Lewis-Perkins, Beck Burnette capture the first team NCAA National Championship in Lee history on Friday at the TPC Michigan in Deerborn.
There are days that you know you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Friday was one of those days for the Lee men’s golf team as the Flames captured the program’s first NCAA D2 National Championship with a 4-1 win over Oklahoma Christian at TPC Michigan.
Connor Pollman rallied from down three shots on the back nine to win his match by one. Pollman was down one going to 17 and delivered a birdie while Pulcini bogeyed. With a one-shot lead Pollman delivered a clutch 10-foot par save to win the match with a 2-under 70.
“I’m just overwhelmed with joy,” said Pollman.
“I’m so proud of these guys. They are like my family and this week was so very special. We knew we had the ability to do this, but it was a battle and we never lost faith and just kept fighting. I just tried to stay within myself today because I knew I was playing well and credit to Pulcini he was nearly flawless. I had an opening on 17 and I hit a good approach shot an was able to make birdie. The 18th hole was good to me this week and I thought I was going to have two-putts to win it but once again Pulcini stepped up and made a long putt for par so I had to focus and Evan (Spence, Assistant Coach) gave me a good read and I rolled it in.”
Dustin DeMersseman put together one of the best rounds of his collegiate career as he fired a 3-under 69 to win by 10 strokes over Nikku. Oliver Lewis-Perkins went 3-0 in match play as he sealed the national title with a 2-stroke win over Armijo posting an even par 72. Beck Burnette finished it off with a 1-stroke win over Rodriguez after carding a 73. Dalton Chuba battled all day in his match and shot a 3-over 75, losing by two.
“This is such an incredible feeling and I’m just so proud of these guys,” said Lee Director of Golf John Maupin. “We battled all week long and they never backed down. I knew this team had a chance to be really special and every time they answered the bell. I’ll say it again, they bought in with all their heart to our motto of tough, calm, and closers.
Maupin singled out his lineup noting, “Connor played incredible this week, and once again when we needed something big, he was there. I’m so proud of Dustin. I mean to start this week with an 87 and have the mental toughness to battle back and then shoot a 69 in the national championship is just amazing. Beck also showed his resiliency, never gave up, and stepped up for us. He went out today in 31 and that set the tone for the day. Dalton, for being just a freshman, never backed down. He’s not afraid of this stage and we needed him this week. And finally, Ollie, he’s a gamer and I knew he would go out there and give us a great chance to win and he did that once again today.”
“I have a ton of respect for David Lynn and the Oklahoma Christian program,” added Maupin. “To win against such a quality opponent made it even that much more special. They played great today and we had to fight for everything.”
The Flames magical postseason run began when they won the program’s first Gulf South Conference Championship in April. They advanced to the National Championship for the second straight season with a third-place finish at the South Region Championship. Over three days of tough conditions at the beautiful TPC at Michigan, Lee placed tied for third to advance out to match play and then proceeded to defeat No. 1 Barry, 4-1 and No. 9 Georgia Southwestern, 3-2 in the quarterfinals and semifinals on Thursday. That set the stage for Friday as the men’s golf team gave Lee University Athletics, in just their seventh season of official NCAA competition, their first team NCAA National Championship.
“You don’t get to this stage without a great support system,” Maupin noted. “I’m so thankful for our Athletic Director, Larry Carpenter, our staff, administrative at Lee, our great fans and family. It was so incredible to share this moment with them all.”