On Friday, February 5th, the Ranger College golf team went to play the #19 ranked (NCAA Division II) Abilene Christian Wildcats on their home course, Diamondback Golf Course. Although this match was not for ranking purposes, it was a very entertaining and competitive match. The format was different and enjoyable for both squads. All matches were played in four-somes and as match play. The front nine was played alternate shot and each match was worth one point. The back nine was played for three points in each match. Each RC golfer played an ACU golfer in singles making up two points and the last point came from a combined team score. There was a total of 16 points up for grabs, meaning it would take 8.5 points to win it for a squad.
Ranger golfers Cory Anderson and Jack Shores took on the Wildcats' top two players. The alternate shot match did not go well for the Rangers in this match with them losing the first three holes and the match ending after the 6th hole 4&3. As they made the turn Cory Anderson was matched up against ACU's top player Cyril Bouniol and beat him in the singles 3&2. Jack Shores faced off against ACU's top freshman, Alex Carpenter and lost 3&2 with the team losing the combined match 3&2 also. So ACU jumped out to a 3 to 1 lead after the first match.
The second match consisted of Ranger golfers John Dukes and Payne Bogan playing ACU's third and fourth players. The alternate shot match was a tough battle with many birdies being made by both teams. However, home course advantage prevailed as a misclub on #8 led to ACU winning 1 up through 9 holes. The back nine was played very evenly with Payne winning his match and John losing his and the teams tying the combined team match. After this match the score stood 5.5 to 2.5.
The fourth match of the day was only able to play 16 holes due to daylight restrictions. This match consisted of Ranger golfers Colin Buckley and Kyle Vorpahl. They faced off against ACU's seventh and eighth ranked players. RC jumped out to an early 2-up lead through two holes and held on to win the match 1-up through 9 in the alternate shot format. The singles matches went RC's way in this group with Colin halving his match against junior Charles Levitte and Kyle beating Chris Rodriguez. RC also won the combined match in this group leaving the score tied at 6.
The third match of the day ended up being the final match and it came down to the last shot. RC golfers Caegan Allen and Madison Hitt played a great match against ACU's fifth and sixth ranked players. RC lost the alternate shot on the last hole losing the front 1-down. The backside consisted of great play from all four players, especially considering the last hole and a half were played after the sun had gone down. ACU won the combined match on the seventeenth hole 2&1. The players took the tee on eighteen with RC needing to win both individual matches to tie with ACU. Madison Hitt was 1-up with sophomore Morgan Johnson while Caegan and freshman Kyle Dickerson stood all square on the final tee. All players kept their balls in play off the tee and Madison and Morgan ended up halving the hole with bogies giving RC another full point. With Caegan in the hole for par, Kyle, unknowingly made a six-foot putt to halve the match, earning ACU a victory.
Coach Harris had these words to say after the match, "Although we were unable to pull off the win, I feel like this match let our guys know how much potential is on this team. I preach to them all the time that we are a top program and we need to start believing that and practicing like it. I am hoping this match will jump start a great semester and we will only improve from here. ACU has a really good squad this year and I feel like if we can go to their course, never having played it, and take them down to the last shot then we can go compete to win any tournament in the midst of any field this spring."