McConnell wins Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic
Sept. 27, 2011
Notre Dame, Ind. -
Paul McConnell earned the second victory of his collegiate career as he held onto the lead in the final round of the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic in South Bend, Ind. to win by a shot.
McConnell started his round off with a birdie on the first hole and then carded pars on 15 of the final 17 holes to shoot a one-over 71 to finish at even par 210 and win by a stroke over Houston's James Ross. The junior's other victory came last spring at the San Diego Intercollegiate.
"I had a great putting week," McConnell said. "I hit the ball solid and stayed patient throughout adverse weather. Winning was my goal and I'm just glad the team did great as well."
McConnell made 11 birdies during the week as his efforts helped the team challenge for the team title all afternoon.
"Paul played great all week," UTA head coach Jay Rees said. "We had a team effort in this tournament and we are starting to come together as a team. We beat some very good ranked teams and were fortunate to beat more Southland teams like Lamar as we play our final season in the conference."
The victory by McConnell was the 16th by an individual in Rees' 13 years at the helm of the Mavericks. McConnell also becomes the third Rees-led golfer to win multiple times in his career joining Bobby Massa and Zack Fischer.
The Mavericks finished in a tie for third just three shots out of the top spot, which St. Mary's and Houston tied for. UTA tied with Minnesota for third in the 12-team field which marks the third consecutive top four finish for the Mavs this season.
UTA easily outdistanced the host Irish as well as other BCS-schools Missouri, Villanova and Georgetown.
Hunter Brown shot 74 Tuesday and finished in a tie for 28 while Cameron Hollek shot 78 and finished in 70th. Cash Wilkerson played as an individual and finished in a tie for 39th after shooting 78 in the final round.