Kraft Wins U.S. Amateur
SMU golfer Kelly Kraft ’11 concluded a scorching summer on the links by taking the 111th U.S. Men’s Amateur Championship in August, becoming the third SMU golfer since 1998 to accomplish the feat. Kraft defeated UCLA’s Patrick Cantlay – the nation’s No. 1-ranked amateur player – in the final round at Erin Hills Country Club in Wisconsin. Cantlay had knocked off SMU senior Max Buckley in the quarterfinals.
Kraft collected the Southern Golf Association’s National Amateur of the Month award in August and earned automatic qualifications into the 2012 Masters, U.S. Open and British Open major championships, if he chooses to keep his amateur status. He follows Hank Kuehne (1998) and Colt Knost (2007) as past U.S. Amateur champions.
Golf Teams Appoint New Coaches
SMU alumus Josh Gregory ’97 was named the men’s head coach in June after guiding Augusta State to two consecutive NCAA Division I championships and adding a second National Coach of the Year Award to his trophy case in July. The Mustangs were two strokes shy of qualifying for the 30-team NCAA Championships in May.
The women’s team hired Jeanne Sutherland in June, bringing her back to the NCAA coaching ranks after three years as head professional at Vail (Colorado) Golf Club. Sutherland spent 15 years at Texas A&M, where she guided the Aggies to the postseason 13 times and earned four conference Coach of the Year honors. Texas A&M had not won a tournament in seven years before she arrived in 1992.
Women’s Tennis Soars
The SMU women’s tennis team earned its best postseason finish in 23 years, advancing to the NCAA Championships’ Round of 16 last May in Palo Alto, California. The Mustangs finished 23-6, earning their third consecutive NCAA Championship appearance before dropping to No. 5 Baylor. They advanced to the second round in the previous two years.
Senior Marta Lesniak finished the 2010-11 season ranked No. 15 in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association after compiling a 42-7 record at No. 1 singles. She reached the first round of the NCAA Singles Championships for the third consecutive year. Ranked No. 10 in November, Lesniak won the USTA/ITA National Indoor Collegiate Championship with a 7-5, 6-1 victory against No. 26 Joanna Mather of Florida at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Lesniak is now 17-3 on the season and 102-18 (.850) for her career. She moves her into third at SMU in career wins and ranks second in career winning percentage.
Ford Stadium Again Site Of Armed Forces Bowl
Gerald J. Ford Stadium will serve as the site of a second bowl game when the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl returns on December 30.
Ford Stadium has served as the site of the bowl game the past two years because of ongoing renovations at TCU’s Amon G. Carter Stadium, where the contest is normally held. Brigham Young, an NCAA Independent, will play against a Conference USA team in this year’s game if the Cougars are bowl eligible. Last year, Army edged SMU 16-14 in front of a stadium-record crowd of 36,742 fans.
SMU announced in August that it had made stadium improvements of its own, totaling $3 million in upgrades to the locker rooms, meeting rooms and playing surface at Ford Stadium.
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SMU Athletics has introduced a new mobile application for Mustang fans with iPhone and Android devices. The mobile application offers iPhone and Android owners instant access to information from SMUMustangs.com, including the latest news, scores, live game play-by-play, stats, schedules, rosters and photo galleries. The application is free to download from the iPhone App Store or Android Market. Users also can purchase access to live audio broadcasts within the app.