Hornets capture 5th straight SWAC golf title

ALEXANDRIA, La. (bamastatesports.com) – The Alabama State men’s golf team won its fifth straight SWAC Championship in the weather-shortened event at Oak Wing Golf Course.

Rain washed away the completion of the final day of play Wednesday, and the 36-hole totals will be the final scores for the event. Alabama State finished the event at 13-under par 563, finishing ahead of second-place Texas Southern (584) and third-place Jackson State (632) in the eight-team championship.

“I was pleased with the composure of our players,” said ASU head golf coach Dr. Gary Grandison, who was voted as the SWAC Coach of the Year. “I really think it was a testament to their maturity. We can really use this as a chance to build and establish where we’re going. I really like what I saw this week. I wish the best for seniors Branson Ferrier, Francis Berthiaume, and Ian Mmbando, as this is their last SWAC Championship. This is their 23rd win in four years, which is incredible.”

The dynasty continues for the Alabama State golf program, as the women’s team won its fourth straight title Tuesday, and fifth in sixth years.

“God is amazing,” Dr. Grandison said. “I can recall as a student athlete here at ASU, my goal was to win one SWAC Championship as a golfer. To have 10 championships is quite a feat. It’s something I didn’t plan for. To be blessed like this is beyond words.”

Alabama State’s Ferrier and Edd Hackett Jr. shared low-medalist honors with  Texas Southern’s Tom McLaughlin (67-71) at six-under 138. It is Ferrier’s fourth low-medalist award, as he combined to shoot 25-under par in his career in SWAC Championship play.

“It was definitely something on my agenda for the season,” Ferrier said. “I knew it was going to be a lot of pressure on me, especially on this golf course where everyone expects me to go really low every round. After the first round (two-under 70), I wasn’t too pleased. Tuesday was a big help (shooting four-under 68). I focused on executing and having good thoughts.”

Ferrier was on record pace Wednesday, as he was seven shots under par through the first 11 holes Wednesday prior to the rain.

“This is his course,” Dr. Grandison said. “The only thing missing is his named being engraved on the 18th green. He had it going today before the stoppage in play. He knows this course extremely well.”

ASU placed four players on the All-SWAC team. Francis Berthiaume joined Ferrier and Hackett in earning first-team honors, as Berthiaume finished in fourth place, shooting five-under 139 for the week. Hackett also earned Freshman of the Year honors.

Mbongeni Maphosa Jr. finished tied for eighth place at four-over 148 to earn second-team All-SWAC honors.  Charles Griffin Jr. shot nine-over par 153 to complete the scoring for Alabama State.

“I think it says a lot about how hard we worked as a team throughout the year, especially this semester,” Ferrier said. “We really haven’t had the success we were hoping for leading up to this point. However, it seems like no matter how everyone is playing, by the time we get to the SWAC Championship, everyone seems to pull it together, execute, and come out on top.”

The Hornets will learn their NCAA Tournament destination Thursday, May 5 at 8:30 a.m. with a live selection show on Golf Channel.