If the sun peeked from behind the clouds over Dornick Hills on Tuesday, it was for Michael Palmer and Oklahoma City.


If the sun peeked from behind the clouds over Dornick Hills on Tuesday, it was for Michael Palmer and Oklahoma City.

Palmer, a freshman from South Africa, shot a 2-under 68 in the third round to earn the medalist honor and lead the Stars to the NAIA Sooner Athletic Conference championship for the first time in two years. Palmer finished with a 7-under 203, five strokes ahead of Wayland Baptist’s Bradley Sinnitt.

Oklahoma City was the only team to shoot under par with a 6-under 834, while Oklahoma Christian, Wayland Baptist and Southern Nazarene tied for second at 10-under 850.

It’s the 13th conference title 14 years for the Stars and 18th overall. Defending NAIA champion Oklahoma Christian unseated the Stars from the SAC throne last year.

“From the first tournament of the year, the guys kind of stumbled out of the blocks,” coach Kyle Blaser said. “The golf season is a mountain climb, and our goal was to get to the top of the mountain.”

Just call the Stars the kings of the SAC mountain. They’ll try to win their first national championship in three years in the May 18-21 NAIA Championships at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill.

Only one team in each conference is awarded an automatic bid to the NAIAs, but Blaser is confident the three second-place teams will join his club in Illinois.

Oklahoma City also tied a school record with its eighth victory in a season. The 2001-02 and 2003-04 teams share the record.

Palmer started the round 2-under through six holes, bogeying the ninth hole and sinking a birdie on the famed 16th hole also known as “The Cliff.”

“I hit the ball pretty well,” Palmer said.

Teammate Clark Collier, the leader through Monday’s two rounds at 6-under, slid to sixth at 210 after a 6-over 76 round. Southern Nazarene’s Brandon Blevins and Oklahoma Christian’s Oscar Stark and Axel Ochoa tied for third at 1-under 209. The top five players earned all-conference honors.

But only Palmer had the round-by-round consistency to claim the individual title.

“I told him he has a chance to be someone special,” Blaser said. “He has a long way to go. The sky is the limit.”

I.C. Murrell
221-6527