By Michael Wells
Sports Information Director


NORMAN, Okla. — The Occidental College men's golf team was among the nation's highest performing teams in the classroom during the 2011-12 academic year.

Oxy was one of 27 NCAA Division III teams recognized with a Golf Coaches Association of America Team Academic Award on Wednesday and one of just two SCIAC schools honored. Redlands was the other.

The Tigers earned a spot on the list by maintaining a combined grade point average above 3.0.

"I'm really proud of the men for continuing to keep a high level of performance in both the classroom and on the golf course," head coach Andrew Larkin said. "This award is a great way to start the new season. Knowing we have a team that is focused and that works hard in all aspects of their lives will help us grow and succeed in the coming season."

A total of 124 teams in all divisions submitted GPAs of 3.0 or higher to earn the distinction. Manhattanville was the Division III champion. Division I DePaul posted the highest overall team GPA with a 3.69.

On the course, the Tigers showed flashes of promise followed by bouts of inconsistency in 2012. No example was more prevalent than the ups and downs they faced at the 2012 SCIAC Championship Tournament.

Oxy spent most of Day 1 in third place, finishing the day six strokes behind second-place Redlands through 18 holes. But a bad second day dropped them out of contention and into sixth (610) at the Diamond Valley Golf Club.

The Tigers lost four seniors to graduation. Freshmen Mason Atkins (Newbury Park) and Aaron Rieger (Mill Valley), and senior Rammi Hazzaa (Hercules) are the returners.