MSU golf, Johnson sweep Desert Mountain

University of Michigan Athletics

Head coach Dusty Smith earns his first tournament win with MSU.

Posted: Mar 10, 2019 8:47 PM

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (MSU Athletics/WTVA) - Mississippi State men’s golf coach Dusty Smith had guided his team to eight top-5 finishes over two seasons coming into the weekend.

With three top-10 individual performances at the Desert Mountain Intercollegiate, the Golf Dawgs clinched Smith’s first tournament title as a head coach Sunday, also the program’s first win since the 2014 Reunion Intercollegiate.

“This is a special day for our entire team,” Smith said. “We got smacked in the mouth early in the round, but we were able to gather ourselves and come back swinging. Winning is hard. It takes a lot of mental toughness, and I felt like our team did a great job handling adversity.”

State also swept the team and individual titles at the par-72, 7,101-yard Desert Mountain Outlaw Course as junior Garrett Johnson finished as the individual medalist, carding a 9-under-207.

“Garrett was great today,” Smith said. “He battled all day. I am so happy to see him get a much-deserved individual win.”

“I am excited to finally get the monkey off my back,” Johnson said. “Getting my first collegiate win is a huge accomplishment. It was one of my many goals before going into college, and this week I pulled everything together and got the job done.”

Johnson needed a birdie on the 18th hole to avoid a tie with Kansas’ Harry Hillier, and he was able to sink the par-4 in just three shots.

“It was an unreal moment, one that I will remember forever,” Johnson said.

The win is Johnson’s first career victory, the first of any active MSU golfer and the first since Taylor Bibbs clinched the USA Individual in 2017.

On his way to the win, Johnson shot a career-low 66 in the opening round on Saturday. The Kimberly, Alabama, native shot even in round two and a 69 in the final round to win by one stroke.

With the win, Johnson was one of three Bulldog golfers to finish in the top 10 on the player leaderboard. Freshman Ford Clegg had a career-best finish as he tied for third at 5-under-par, while junior Peng Pichaikool picked up his fifth consecutive top-15 performance placing tied for eighth.

In each of its last three events, State has placed three players in the top 20 of the player leaderboards, and Clegg and Pichaikool have been part of all three instances.

Senior Ross Bell finished just short of the top 20, with a 6-over-par three-day total to take a share of 22nd. Bell shot a 73 and 72 in the first two rounds of play Saturday.

Sophomore Cameron Clarke rounded out the MSU scorecard, finishing 65th. Ben Nelson, playing as an individual, tied for 49th.

The sweep of team and individual is the first since the 2014 Old Waverly Collegiate Championship.

As a team, State struggled in its final round relative to Saturday. MSU shot 9-over-par Sunday but was helped along by its 17-under-par total after two rounds. Overall, the Golf Dawgs carded an 8-under-856, six strokes ahead of runner-up Kansas.

Smith’s team led the field with 66 birdies over the three days, 12 more than any other team. Johnson finished with a field-best 19.

MSU’s next test is less than a week away. On Friday, March 15, State will begin play at the Schenkel Invitational hoping to improve on last season’s fourth-place finish.

For more information on the Bulldogs, follow the program on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by searching @HailStateMG.

MSU men’s golf coach Dusty Smith:

“This is a special day for our entire team. We got smacked in the mouth early in the round, but we were able to gather ourselves and come back swinging. Winning is hard. It takes a lot of mental toughness, and I felt like our team did a great job handling adversity. Garrett was great today. He battled all day. I am so happy to see him get a much-deserved individual win. We have a quick turnaround. We will enjoy this one tonight but need to get back at it this week.”

Junior Garrett Johnson:

“I am excited to finally get the monkey off my back. Getting my first collegiate win is a huge accomplishment. It was one of my many goals before going into college, and this week I pulled everything together and got the job done. I got off to a tough start, but I knew if I could get to the back nine at even par or better I would have a good chance. The back nine set up so well for me. Standing on 18, I was calm. I knew my moment had come, and it was time to tackle it. I swung as hard as I could at the drive on 18. It found the middle of the fairway, and I was able to hit my approach shot up to about 15 feet. I had coach Ewing standing there with me, and I told him “It’s time to make a putt.” Once we got done discussing the line, we chose I stood over the ball with no doubt it was going in. When it dropped, Coach Ewing came and gave me the biggest high-five and hug. It was an unreal moment, one that I will remember forever. The best part about the whole entire week is winning as team. That means more to me than the individual accomplishment. Hail State forever!

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 111322

Reported Deaths: 3202
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7751171
DeSoto663677
Harrison481181
Jackson431978
Rankin380886
Madison371792
Lee341379
Forrest295177
Jones283182
Washington251497
Lafayette241742
Lauderdale2344130
Lamar214938
Bolivar198075
Oktibbeha194654
Neshoba1806111
Lowndes173962
Panola165136
Leflore160086
Sunflower157449
Warren152154
Monroe144872
Pontotoc143519
Pike136455
Lincoln134854
Copiah134636
Marshall132626
Scott123229
Coahoma123136
Grenada120137
Simpson118148
Yazoo117233
Union113925
Holmes113260
Tate112739
Leake112239
Itawamba109024
Pearl River108256
Adams104342
Prentiss101619
Wayne98521
Alcorn95512
George93517
Marion93242
Covington91625
Tippah85120
Newton84227
Chickasaw82024
Tallahatchie81825
Winston81521
Tishomingo79040
Hancock76927
Attala76525
Clarke71448
Clay67221
Jasper66616
Walthall63327
Calhoun60912
Noxubee59516
Smith58116
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52723
Tunica51817
Lawrence49514
Yalobusha48414
Perry48022
Carroll46012
Greene45317
Stone45014
Amite41513
Quitman4136
Humphreys39916
Jefferson Davis39411
Webster36513
Wilkinson32920
Kemper31815
Benton3054
Sharkey27714
Jefferson26310
Franklin2303
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22400372
Mobile14282314
Tuscaloosa9983132
Montgomery9691196
Madison899992
Shelby703560
Lee643966
Baldwin637567
Marshall426748
Calhoun410259
Etowah402049
Morgan394532
Houston363132
DeKalb316727
Elmore309552
St. Clair279742
Limestone269227
Walker268092
Talladega255034
Cullman225823
Lauderdale206340
Autauga199928
Franklin199131
Jackson199114
Colbert190627
Russell19023
Dallas185227
Blount183823
Chilton180531
Escambia170928
Covington164729
Coffee16409
Dale162551
Pike130212
Chambers127343
Tallapoosa127286
Clarke126716
Marion104229
Butler99840
Barbour9819
Marengo96721
Winston89913
Geneva8337
Pickens80317
Randolph79514
Lawrence79230
Bibb78913
Hale74529
Cherokee71514
Clay70712
Lowndes69927
Bullock63517
Henry6316
Monroe6279
Washington62112
Crenshaw59030
Perry5796
Wilcox55712
Conecuh55413
Fayette54712
Macon52919
Cleburne5247
Sumter46421
Lamar4575
Choctaw38612
Greene33316
Coosa1963
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