He has been in the hunt many times in his three years of collegiate golf, now Noah Steele of Kingston, Ontario can call himself an NCAA tournament champion.
The 21-year-old, a two-time Flagstick Open Champion, led his Sam Houston State University golf team to a title defense at the Southland Conference Championship this week in Mckinney, Texas.
Steele, a junior at the school and a member at the Cataraqui Golf & Country Club, won the individual title by a three-shot margin. His score of -3 (72, 68, 73) was the only one under par for the 54 holes at the very difficult Stonebridge Ranch Country Club. The course is a regular location for Web.com TOUR regional qualifying.
The test was only made more difficult by the circumstances that necessitated 36 holes of play on the final day of the tournament. Flood warnings for the scheduled final day pushed organizers to change the format and force a marathon of golf to decide the championship.
The BearKats team, including Steele, took advantage and played their best golf to win the title.
The Difference Maker
The difference maker for Steele was the second round where he turned out six birdies on his way to a 68, one of only two scores in the 60’s by any player in the field for the week.
It helped establish the margin that kept him ahead of a surging Blake Elliot of McNeese State, the 21st ranked player in the country. Steele went two under par for the closing seven holes to keep him at bay.
“Everybody talks about the back-9 on a Sunday or the back nine on the final round is where it is made,” Steele said after the round. “I knew I was in a good spot, but still had a lot of golf ahead of me. I had a birdie putt on 12 and then kind of played flawless coming in.”
Prior to this week Steele’s best collegiate individual finishes have been a 5th place earlier this month another tie for 5th place last year in Hawaii. He has been working hard on his game and that has been recognized by his Bearkat coach.
“This fall I thought we had a really good mid-year meeting,” Kieschnick shared about Steele with the school paper. “He had to really dig deep. This year he really looked at himself and look at the areas he has to get better. He is starting to match his mind and his body and that was all building to this win.”
Steele and the Bearkats will now move on to the NCAA Regional Championships.