College golf's longest winning streak ends
College golf is flying a bit under the radar right now, but this week has been one for the record books.
Earlier today, Lynn University rallied to overtake its Sunshine State Conference archrival Nova Southeastern and win the women's NCAA Division II title for the first time since 1997.
And on Friday, the University of Texas-Tyler outdueled Transylvania to win the men's Division III crown, the first national title in school history. The win capped off the career of Head Coach King Campbell in grand style, as he had announced that he was retiring at the tournament's end.
Impressive as those victories were, though, they paled in comparison to the history made Friday at the women's Division III finals, where Mary Hardin-Baylor won its first national title after four runner-up finishes. The real headline isn't that Mary Hardin-Baylor won, but that Methodist University finished third.
Here's why: Until Friday, Methodist was the only school ever to win the women's D-III crown. That's right – the only one.
Up until the year 2000, the NCAA conducted a combined tournament for both the D-II and D-III schools. In 2000, the divisions were separated to give each one its own champion. And every year since 1998 – two years before the split, and all 13 afterward – the Methodist women had prevailed.
Methodist's 15-year title streak was the longest active streak in any NCAA sport, and was the third-longest streak in the all-time history of NCAA athletics. The longest streaks were Kenyon College's 31 straight men's Division III swimming titles and the Kenyon women's 17 straight women's Division III swimming.
Over at USA Today, Craig Bennett assembled these facts to put Methodist's streak in perspective:
--Other than Methodist, the longest streak of NCAA golf titles was nine straight years, by the Yale men's team from 1905-13.
--Methodist's average winning margin in the Division III tournament was 35.7 shots. The only times its margin of victory was less than double digits was six shots over DePauw in 2012 and two shots over Mary Hardin-Baylor in 2004.
--Methodist won the 2007 title by 88 shots. The record victory margin for Division I women is 36 shots (Tulsa in 1982), and for Division II women it's 74 shots (Florida Southern in 2002). The biggest men's victory in any division is 49 shots by Division III California State-Stanislaus in 1979.
--And finally, three different head coaches – Kim Kincer, Vici Pate and current coach Tom Inczauskis – have led the Monarchs during their amazing winning streak.
Giving credit to the Monarchs for their amazing run of success right now feels a little like applauding a pitcher when his no-hitter is broken up in the eighth inning. But the program deserves plenty of applause – as does Mary Hardin-Baylor for its achievement in ending the streak.
After these action-packed few days, the NCAAs take a quick break, and they're right back at it on Monday with the start of the men's Division II finals. The women's Division I finals begin on Tuesday, with the men's Division I finals kicking off on May 28. You can follow all the action over at NCAA.com or on our special landing page.