Western Carolina shot a final 291 (+11) in the three-day Southern Conference Men’s Golf Championships to place ninth out of 12 schools at the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club on Sunday. The final round score was one off of the team’s best round of the season.
Entering the day three back of Davidson for ninth, the 291 mark was six better than the Wildcats, who ended up in tenth position.
The Cats were battling back the last two rounds from an opening round 305 (+25) on Friday which placed them eight strokes behind Davidson and 18 strokes back of eventual champion East Tennessee State University.
The squad managed to trim this total by eight with a second-round 297 (+17) on Saturday before firing their final-round 291. WCU managed to top eighth-place finisher Wofford by one on the final two rounds, but could not erase the 16-stroke margin the Terriers set after day one with a first-day 289 (+9).
Jason Huguet was the top golfer for the Catamounts, shooting a three-day total of 221 (+11) that placed him in a tie at 28th which was highlighted by a final round of 71. Greg Lewis was next for Western Carolina with a 225 including a second-round team best of 71 earning him a share of 37th place.
Lee Cline ended the tournament tied for 41st, while Clay Kilgore and Bryan Sangid placed 46th and 48th, respectively.
Entering the tournament, the Cats were averaging 307.1 per round, good for the eighth spot in the SoCon. Their performance in the championships improved on this average by nearly nine and a half strokes.
ETSU captured the team conference title and the Southern Conference’s sole automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals. The Bucs ran away with the title, shooting a final round of 269 (-11) to post a final score of nine-under 831. This beat out the nearest cometitor, the College of Charleston, by a full 19 strokes.
The title was the fourth straight conference crown and seventh in the last eight seasons for East Tennessee.
Georgia Southern rounded out the top three, beating out Appalachain State by two to finish third with a three-day total of 857 (+17). All three top finishers were ranked in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. ETSU was ranked 13th, Charleston 18th, and Georgia Southern 46th.
Though competing for the eighth-place Woffor Terriers, William McGirt won the individual title in a playoff against ETSU’s Pat Beste. Both golfers fired a three-day total of 205 (-5). This was the opposite of last season’s championships, when Beste earned medalist honors and McGirt finished as runner-up.
A playoff win for Beste would have made him the first SoCon golfer to capture medalist honors in back-to-back season’s since 1977. In addition to Beste, the Bucs placed the third and fourth place invdividual finishers en route to their championship run.
Placing third for East Tennesse was Chris Wisler, the conference’s top-ranked golfer and seventh in the nation. Wisler fired a final round 65 to finish three under par for the championships while James Johnson shot a two-under total of 208.