Privateer Golf celebrates Golden Anniversary of first National Championship
Fifty years ago today, just over 2,300 miles from home at Butte Creek Country Club in Chico, California “Brown’s Bombers” wrote their names into Louisiana sports history by winning the 1971 NCAA College Division National Championship. In just their second season of existence, the UNO(then known as LSUNO) completed a six-stroke comeback on the final day overtaking San Fernando Valley to win the first of back-to-back National Championships under head coach Bob Brown.
TOP FIVE TEAMS
1 UNO 1,198
2 San Fernando Valley 1,201
3 Rollins College 1,210
4 Houston Baptist 1,214
5 Chico State 1,218
TOP FIVE INDIVIDUALS
1 Stan Stopa, UNO 292
T3 Mike Ford, Rollins 294
T3 Dave Christensen, San Fernando Valley 294
T5 Bill Daigle, Southwest Louisiana 295
T5 Bob Seligman, Houston Baptist 295
STAN STOPA CROWNED INDIVIDUAL CHAMPION
Following what Brown had described as a “disappointing season” individually, future PGA Pro and UNO Hall of Famer Stan Stopa shot rounds of 73, 74, 73 and 74 to win the NCAA Championship for both the Privateers and himself. With his entire team cheering him on following the conclusion of their rounds, the freshman All-American was cool as ice, sinking birdies on his final two holes to lock up the Championship.
PRIVATEERS PLACE THREE IN THE TOP-10 INDIVIDUALLY
In addition to Stopa’s medalist performance, team captain Bill Springer finished in sixth-place with rounds of 72, 76, 75, and 74 (297), while Rick Gaille (who finished runner-up in the 1969-1970 NCAA College Championships as a freshman) finished tied for eighth-place after rounds of 75, 73, 72, and 78 (298). Murphy Trahan finished the tournament with a 311, and Eddie Selser finished with a 315 to round out the scoring for the Privateers.
Gaille, Springer, and Stopa each earned All-American status following their top-10 finishes in Chico and qualified as individuals for the NCAA University Championships (now known as Div. I). Gaille and Trahan would finish their careers on the Lakefront as the program’s only three-time All-Americans. Stopa collected his second All-American honor the next season, and Selser would earn the distinction during the 1972-1973 campaign.
CHAMPIONSHIP WRAPS UP STRONG SOPHOMORE SEASON FOR GOLF PROGRAM
Coach Brown’s squad entered the NCAA Tournament with a record of 94-14, including 19-4 in dual matches during the season. The Privateer linksters had won four straight tournaments – the Corbett Classic at LSU, the Van Hock Invitational at Southern Miss, the Louisiana Intercollegiate at LSU, and the Holiday Inn at Dixie at Centenary prior to their trip to the Golden State. Coach Brown would be named National Coach of the Year in both 1971 and 1972.
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