No. 2 Texas A&M saw its run at the 2018 SEC Men's Golf Championship draw to a close Saturday morning, as the Aggies fell to No. 6 LSU by a score of 3-0-2 at Sea Island Golf Club.
"This is not the way we envisioned this week going," Texas A&M head coach J.T. Higgins said. "However, I could not be more proud of these guys. They played with so much grit and heart, we just weren’t real sharp. We ran into a great team today that played as well as I’ve ever seen in match play. LSU kept hitting fairways and greens and applying pressure. Those guys were amazing and played their best golf of the year."
For the second year, the SEC Championship mirrored the NCAA Championship by determining its champion with a match play format that followed an initial stroke play competition. LSU and A&M faced off in five pairings with the three victories being needed to punch a ticket to the semifinals.
All-American Chandler Phillips, coming off his third career SEC Championship top-10 finish, rallied from three down to even up his pairing with Trey Winstead before the match was called after the Tigers clinched the needed three victories.
Phillips Barbaree earned LSU’s first point with a 3&1 victory over sophomore Brandon Smith. Senior Andrew Paysse and Luis Gagne dueled all morning, making it through 19 holes all-square before LSU clinched. Sophomore Dan Erickson won three consecutive holes late to move from down two to the lead over Jacob Bergeron, but Bergeron was able to capture the final two holes and secure his one-up win. In the final pairing, LSU’s Nathan Jeansonne defeated freshman Walker Lee, 2&1.
In the stroke play portion, the Aggies rebounded after a poor first round on Wednesday to climb up into a share of seventh and earn a spot in the quarterfinals.
Next up, the Aggies will await the NCAA Selection Show on Wednesday, May 2. Texas A&M’s home course of Traditions Golf Club is set to host NCAA Regional Play beginning on May 14.
"This result doesn’t take anything away from us at this point," Higgins said of the Aggies' SEC showing. "LSU just did a fabulous job and they got the win. We are going to head home and get ready to host regionals and we’re looking forward to that opportunity. We’ll regroup and get ready to go. The guys are disappointed but we got a couple weeks to get ready for the next one and we are looking forward to it."