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Marshall’s run ends in Sun Belt semifinals

— By David Walsh

The Spring season for the Marshall men’s golf team will go down as the Sun Belt Conference’s best one-year turnaround.

The Thundering Herd went from 13th place in the 2023 SBC Championship to a tie for third in the 2024 tournament completed Thursday at the par-72, 7,190-yard Annandale Golf Club in Madison, Miss.

Marshall tied for third in stroke play in the tournament to earn a spot in the semifinals in match play for the championship.

No. 2 seed UL Monroe defeated the No. 3 Herd 3-1-1 in one semifinal match Thursday morning. 

“Today was a really good day,” Marshall coach Matt Grobe said. “The guys played really well, but we ran into a hot team. ULM was impressive today and threw a lot of birdies at us. The guys responded well and fought hard but just couldn’t make up enough ground. Match Play was a great experience for our guys and hopefully we learned a little bit about the format for the future.”

Arkansas State, which had prevailed in 54 holes of stroke play to secure that title and top seed for match play, beat No. 4 Texas State, 4-1, in the other semifinal.

Arkansas State and UL Monroe needed extra holes to decide the title and secure the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. Thomas Schmidt defeated UL Monroe’s Melan Dhaubhadel on the 20th hole to secure a 3-2 triumph for the Red Wolves. They will learn their destination on May 1 during the NCAA Selection show on Golf Channel at 2 p.m. 

Against UL Monroe, Clayton Thomas secured the only point for the Herd with a 3 & 2 victory over Louis Anceaux at the No. 2 spot. At No. 5, Marshall’s Tyler Jones and Dhaubhadel were square after 14 holes, but the Warhawks notched the win when Theis Poulsen beat Ryan Bilby, 3 & 2. 

Mikkel Schmidt beat the Herd’s Cameron Jarvis, 7 & 6, and Ylan Guerin Pozzalo topped Joseph Kalaskey, 5 & 4.

In stroke play, Bilby finished third to secure a spot on the SBC All-Tournament Team. Jones posted a tie for seventh.

Arkansas State shot 859 to win the team stroke title. UL Monroe took second at 870 and the Herd and Texas State tied for third at 877. 

Marshall won the tiebreaker over Texas State for No. 3 by virtue of a combined non-counting score of 20-over 236.

South Alabama’s Hugo Thyr and Schmidt tied at 212 after 54 holes and went to a playoff for the individual crown. The two players matched birdies and pars on the first two holes. Back at the par-5 18th for the third hole, Thyr reached the green in two and two-putted for birdie after Schmidt’s second shot found the water. This is Thyr’s second straight title.

In the final team standings, Coastal Carolina was fifth followed by James Madison, Georgia Southern, Louisiana, Troy, South Alabama, Southern Miss, Appalachian State and Old Dominion (tie 12th) and Georgia State.

Six NCAA regionals are scheduled May 13-15. The national championship is scheduled May 24-29 at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif.

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