Fanonnel delivers 3-peat, wins Little Rock Invite

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Entering the Graeme McDowell Invitational on Sept. 29, ULM senior men’s golfer Guillaume Fanonnel had never won an individual collegiate tournament championship.

Four weeks and three tournaments later, Fanonnel has three individual collegiate titles to his name after winning the Little Rock Invitational by three strokes Tuesday at Chenal Country Club’s Founders Course.

Fanonnel entered Tuesday’s third and final round one shot off the lead. He played nearly error-free golf to claim his third consecutive crown at 10-under-par 206 (69-67-70).

“I’m really happy about that three-peat,” Fanonnel said. “I’m not going to lie, I felt the pressure a bit today, which is one of the reasons why I wasn’t really able to unleash it today. I played solid but couldn’t make a putt. Overall, I’m very satisfied about my game because even if I’m not playing perfect, I’m still able to be in contention and win tournaments. I’m excited for the spring season.”

“What a fall!” ULM Director of Golf Tim Baldwin said. “I’ve had guys win a couple times in their career, but never anybody twice in the same semester, let alone three times on top of each other. What an absolute, incredible run.”

Starting on the ninth hole, Fanonnel carded three birdies on the round with red numbers on the par-5 12th, par-4 15th and par-5 first to go with 14 pars to close the round at 2-under-par 70. He maintained a three-to-four shot lead over the field for much of the round. Fanonnel collected 17 birdies in the tournament to lead all players.

His three wins tie him for the most in a career by a ULM golfer since 1993-94 with Gustaf Kocken, who won three tournaments in the 2010-11 season.

“He hit it so good this week and actually putted good, but didn’t putt great,” Baldwin said. “It could have been significantly lower with a few more putts dropping.”

Overall, the Warhawks played their best round of the tournament on Tuesday, firing a 10-under-par 278 to finish fourth at 15-under-par 849 (286-285-278). Little Rock won the tournament at 35-under-par 829 (285-274-270).

“The team played very solid today,” Fanonnel said. “Melan and Otto really carried the team in the last round.”

“Much more consistent,” Baldwin said. “We played a lot cleaner.”

Freshman Melan Dhaubhadel closed the tournament with the best round by any Warhawk this fall, shooting 6-under-par 66 to finish in sixth place at 5-under-par 211 (72-73-66). Dhaubhadel played bogey-free golf while collecting six birdies. He went under par on the par-5 ninth, par-4 13th, par-4 14th, par-5 16th, par-3 17th and par-4 third holes. It is Dhaubhadel’s first Top-10 finish at ULM.

“Great round today by Melan,” Baldwin said. “He hit it really good this week other than two or three or four different swings. It was a great event for him and a nice way to finish his fall season.”

Sophomore Otto Van Buynder played his best round of the tournament Tuesday, with a 4-under-par 68 to finish in a tie for 18th at 1-under-par 215 (76-71-68). He tallied five birdies, starting with the par-5 ninth. He also birdied the par-3 11th, par-4 13th, par-3 17th and the par-4 eighth. He added 12 pars on the round.

“Otto played well, too,” Baldwin said. “Other than one hiccup in yesterday’s round, he played really good yesterday.”

Senior Andoni Etchenique closed the final round with a 2-over-par 74 to finish at 7-over-par 223 (73-76-74). He carded three birdies in the round on the par-5 ninth, par-4 second and par-3 fourth and carded 10 pars.

Sophomore Keegan McLachlan finished the tournament with an 80 for a total of 226 (72-74-80). He had four birdies in the round on the par-5 ninth, par-3 fourth, par-3 sixth and par-4 eighth.

Sophomore Michael Gilbert carded a final round 81 to finish at 235. He birdied the par-5 ninth and the par-4 15th.

ULM concludes the fall season placing in the Top 5 in all four tournaments with a victory at the Intercollegiate at the Grove. Individuall, Fanonnel earned three tournament wins, Etchenique had three Top-10 finishes and Dhaubhadel and Van Buynder had one Top-10 finish each.

Baldwin says he feels good about where is team is at heading into the spring season.

“The conference is really good,” Baldwin said. “Little Rock showed what they’ve got. Arkansas State is good. Georgia Southern is good. We’re one of five schools that potentially could earn an automatic bid to the NCAA postseason this year. There’s some solid depth there. G has picked up where he left off last year with being the top player in the conference and made a real statement this fall.”

The Warhawks are scheduled to open play in the spring season on Jan. 25-26 at the Arizona Intercollegiate in Tucson.

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