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If ever there was a time for the Oregon Tech men’s golf team to rebound from a mediocre effort, it was Tuesday in the final round of the Hustlin’ Owls Fall Invitational at the Running Y.

“This was the kind of tournament we needed to win to help us in the rankings,” captain Mayson Tibbs said after he finished the tournament at even par 144 on the 7,055-yard men’s course.

“It’s a big win, but we have to play better,” said Tibbs, who had a 5-under 67 Tuesday. Battling difficult winds Tuesday was something he relished as he and Pitluk Phanomchai of LaVerne University both had the best round of the tournament.

Phanomchai won men’s medalist with 5-under 139 after having had a round of par Monday.

Tibbs was left to lament one hole Monday.

“I had an 11 on it,” he said of a par 4 in the opening round.

He shoots par and he finishes the tournament with a 137.

Still, he and coach Jeff Corkill were pleased with his 67 under tough conditions.

“I was hoping for conditions to get a little bit challenging, to help me get back into contention,” Tibbs said. “Monday, the weather was perfect. (Tuesday), there were two or three club winds.”

His 67 helped Tech post a team score of 292, which allowed the Hustlin’ Owls to win the team championship with a 592, a six-stroke advantage over Menlo College. The Oaks turned in the second best team score of the tournament during Tuesday’s round.

Michael Gray and Jared McBride tied for fifth place in the chase for men’s medalist honors, each at 147, for a young Tech team battling to live up to its No. 22 national ranking, the second highest among Cascade Collegiate Conference schools.

“Our freshmen need to be in a position to improve, and it’s a mental thing,” Tibbs said of the Owls, who have one final competition this fall before the winter break. OIT will play Nov. 3-4 in the NAIA preview meet in Mesa, Ariz.

It will be there Tibbs hopes to step up and lead OIT, again.

Tuesday, he did just that.

“My ball striking was really strong,” he said. “So was my proximity to the hole. I didn’t putt the ball that well Monday. (Tuesday), I put myself inside five feet to give myself a ton of good looks (at the pin).”

TECH TALK

  • After the winter break, OIT will host its annual spring invitational March 8-9 at Eagle Point.
  • The NAIA preview tournament will be played at the Las Sendas Golf Course in Mesa.
  • The top team in the Cascade Collegiate Conference, the University of British Columbia, did not make the trip to the Running Y, choosing instead to play in the Canadian national championships.
  • The lone conference schools to play in this year’s tournament were Multnomah and Walla Walla universities.
  • In addition to Tibbs, Gray and McBride, OIT’s Preston Luckman finished 14th in this year’s tournament, while Cameron Barnhardt tied for 16th, and the four Tech players all were within 10 strokes of Tibbs.