The 15th-ranked Blinn College men’s golf team received some great news Wednesday after the NJCAA selection committee granted the Buccaneers one of two available at-large bids for the upcoming NJCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship.

Blinn will participate in the national tournament as an at-large competitor for a second consecutive season. Overall, the Bucs are making their third trip to nationals since Blinn launched its men’s and women’s golf programs in 2019.

The 24-team national tournament runs May 14-17 at Rockwind Community Links in Hobbs, N.M.

Representing the Bucs will be sophomores Austin HassellCason Holzshu, and Jacob Holloway, as well as freshmen Preston DeSerranoBen Jones, and Landon Johnson. All six golfers will be making their nationals debut.

“Based on our overall performance throughout the fall and spring, I was confident we were going to get the bid,” Holzshu said. “We knew we did what we needed to do to secure the bid, but nothing is guaranteed at this level. We prayed about it and let it work itself out, and when we got the text message from our coach we went nuts.”

In 11 meets across the fall and spring semesters, the Bucs earned wins at the Jacksonville College Fall Invitational (Sept. 25, 2023), The Fall Aggie Invitational (Oct. 2, 2023) and the Hal Sutton Invitational (March 17). Blinn also posted two runner-up finishes, including in the Region XIV Tournament earlier this month.

Blinn finished just five six strokes shy of winning the region title, but Hassell said the Bucs ended the tournament playing at a level that can keep them competitive at nationals.

“The way we’re playing right now is the best golf we’ve played as a team to date,” Hassell explained. “I believe we haven’t even reached our full potential yet, but I think our worst golf is still good enough to go out there and compete with the best.”

Blinn head coach David Johnson and the Bucs made history in 2023 after entering the nationals field ranked 14th in the nation. Blinn placed eighth overall while sophomore Ty Thomas tied for fifth individually to become the program’s first All-American.

Johnson is looking for his team to raise the bar again this time around.

“We talk all the time about being yourself and playing your game, but at the same time also being a pace setter for the program and its future,” Johnson said. “I’ve told our guys that this is exactly what we work all year for, and now it’s time for them to go out and give it everything they’ve got.”

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 47 NJCAA national championships since 1987. 

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