Smart named AAC Coach of the Year, Bawden, Harris make all-conference team

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The University of Memphis men’s golf team continued its impressive late-season run Wednesday.

Blake Smart was named American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, while Bradley Bawden and Chase Harris earned spots on the all-conference team.

Smart becomes the first from the UofM to win Coach of the Year honors since Grant Robbins in 2012.

Smart, in his fifth season with the program, led the UofM to its first AAC title last month, a victory that sends the Tigers into the NCAA Championships in two weeks. Smart will be taking a team to an NCAA regional for the second time in four years. The UofM last appeared in 2016.

A senior from Hockley, England, Bawden has provided Smart with a consistent member for his lineup throughout the season. His 71.5 stroke average leads the team and puts him on pace to establish a single-season record.

Bawden has had six Top 20 finishes this season and he won an individual title at the Wexford Plantation Intercollegiate in late February. At the AAC Championships last month in Palm Harbor, Fla., Bawden directed the title run by putting together rounds of 70-69-69 for a three-day total of 5-under 208. He finished third overall.

Harris, a senior from Jackson, Tenn., finished the regular season schedule by firing a 2-under 69 on the final day of the AAC Championship. He ended in a tie for fifth place, his best result of the spring.

At the Memphis Intercollegiate to start the season, Harris shot a final-round, 6-under 66 – a career-best — to finish in fifth place at 4-under 212. He and Bawden have participated in each of the team’s 11 events.

The Tigers will begin play in the NCAA Championships May 13 at one of six regional sites.

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