The big 2-0. ACU's Carpenter wins 20th career tourney
Alex Carpenter added to his growing legend Tuesday afternoon when the ACU senior fired a 2-under-par 70 to win the individual medalist title at the Dallas Baptist Classic, the record 20th NCAA victory of his unmatched career.
Carpenter -- playing in the final regular-season invitational of his career -- fired a three-round total of 6-under-par 210 over the par-72, 6,964-yard Hackberry Country Club. He shot rounds of 69-71 on Monday and followed it with Tuesday's closing-round 70 to finish five shots in front of runner-up Trey Lawson of Cameron (three-round total of 215).
Carpenter is believed to hold the NCAA career record for individual collegiate wins, having surpassed the previous record of 16 set by Phil Mickelson from 1989-92. Mickelson -- who has gone on to one of the great careers in PGA history -- is considered by many to be the greatest collegiate player of all time.
But Carpenter topped that number on March 5 in Austin when he won his 17th career tournament title at the St. Edward's Invitational. Carpenter has now won four straight tournaments this spring and five tournaments overall during his senior season, including the individual title at the Charles Coody Intercollegiate last September.
"I worked really hard over the off-season and I got to play in a couple of big events, and that hard work gave me a lot of confidence going into this semester," Carpenter said. "I knew this was my final collegiate semester, and I wanted to put forth my best effort."
The ACU senior and three-time NCAA Division II all-America has now won 20 of 48 tournaments during his four-year career (42 percent), and in two weeks he will be on the course at The Golf Club at Champions Circle in Fort Worth to defend his Lone Star Conference championship. He won the LSC title in 2010 and 2012 and will try to become a three-time winner at the tournament, which will be played April 15-16.
After reaching 20 career wins, Carpenter's next goal is 23, which would give him conference, regional and national championships.
"I honestly didn't think 20 wins would be possible in college," Carpenter said. "I set a goal to win 10 and I got there and I said, 'OK, let's try to win 20,' and I was able to do that. Someone asked me at dinner (earlier Tuesday night) what my next goal was, and I guess it's 23.
"It's hard when you're in the middle of this to not think about the next goal or the next tournament," Carpenter said, "but I'm trying to enjoy the moments. I've been blessed by a lot over the last four years, and a lot of it comes from the great opportunities and tools my parents gave me when I was younger. I just thank the Lord for the blessings He's given me and the success He's allowed me to have during my four years at ACU."
Carpenter dominated the longer holes on the Hackberry course, finishing an amazing 11-under-par on the par-5s during the tournament. He also carded 14 birdies, the second-best total in the tournament, and his average of 4.13 on the par 4s was the best in the field.
ACU played this week's tournament without both Trey Sullivan and Corbin Renner, who were in Abilene battling injuries, and their absence led to a 12th-place team finish for the Wildcats. ACU shot rounds of 306-312-316 to finish at 934, 47 shots behind team champion Oklahoma Christian (294-289-304–887).
Information for this story provided by ACU Sports Information.