BEAUMONT – After winning its record 24th Southland Conference title in men’s golf last week, Lamar University was the only school to have four players named to the all-conference team released by the league office Monday.
Senior M.J. Daffue, who successfully defended his individual title at the SLC Tournament, was named to the first team, while Luke Jerling and Xavier Feyaerts were named to the second team and Kevin Hesbois was a third team selection. Jerling was also honored as Freshman of the Year.
While Daffue was able to defend his conference title, he did not repeat as conference Player of the Year despite an outstanding final season at Lamar. A native of Pretoria, South Africa, Daffue led Lamar with a 73.0 strokes per round average and was the only player in the conference with more than one tournament victory as he finished with three.
“I was disappointed M.J. did not win Player of the Year,” said LU head coach Brian White, who did earn his third Coach of the Year award. “It’s beyond me that a player could win the conference championship and two other major college events against unbelievable competition and not be voted Player of the Year. In my mind, he’s certainly Player of the Year.”
In addition to winning the conference tournament, Daffue picked up wins at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate and the Border Olympics against two of the top fields in college golf. Daffue was one of only two players to finish under par at the Border Olympics after a three round total of 5-under.
Jerling tied for fifth in his first conference tournament and finished the year second on the team with a stroke average of 74.0 per round. The Port Elizabeth, South Africa native picked up his first career win at the Wolfpack Spring Open as he bested a field of 90 golfers.
“Luke Jerling definitely deserved Freshman of the Year,” said White. “He won an event and his stroke average was one of the best in the conference as a freshman.”
Jerling is the sixth Cardinal to earn Freshman of the Year honors in the Southland Conference, and first since Feyaerts did so in 2009.
Feyaerts helped the Cardinals to the conference championship with a tie for seventh at the Southland Conference Tournament. A native of Heist-Op-Den-Berg, Belgium, Feyaerts finished the season with a 74.3 strokes per round average for 34 rounds.
Hesbois finished his senior year with a 74.2 scoring average on his way to third team honors. A senior from Tildonk, Belgium, Hesbois was a second-team all-conference pick a year ago. Hesbois posted his best career finish as he took second place at the David Toms Intercollegiate in the fall.
“It’s a great honor to have four players recognized as all-conference,” said White. “All four of my players have played well this year, and at certain times have played fantastic golf. They all deserved it.”
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