Golf leaves the SoCon with a title

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  • Graphic: Alexandria Tobia

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Emily Arnold

After a rollercoaster ride of a season, the Georgia Southern University men’s golf team proved its perseverance in the Southern Conference by winning the championship title by just one stroke.

Competing in their last SoCon Championship tournament, the Eagles (+9) came through in the final round against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (+10) when the Mocs’ own senior Chris Robb just barely overshot a 25-foot birdie putt, which would have tied the two teams causing a playoff round.

“We had a couple of problems coming in and it came down to the last hole and the last putt,” Head Coach Larry Mays said. “It looked so good and it rolled right over the edge of the cup. It could’ve gone in easily.”

All of the players contributed great scores to this win, but one drive in particular set the Eagles on a run in the final round. Senior Hayden Anderson produced his second hole-in-one of the season on the par-three ninth hole at National Golf Club. Anderson’s first was at GSU’s own Schenkel Invitational.

“It’s pretty special to do the things that we did this season, especially having two hole-in-ones while all that was going on,” Anderson said. “It’s pretty special and I’ll never forget it.”

The Eagles ended round one in a respectable tie for third. Senior Will Evans was the leader of the day and tied for third with a 71. In Evans’ mind, the word to sum up this team’s season is perseverance, but on a personal level, patience has been his theme of the year.

“Patience on the golf course and in the classroom and perseverance,” Evans said. “It was a long, grueling season; everybody has their ups and their downs. We all had the confidence and the know-how to persevere and to get it done. It’s pretty cool to leave the SoCon with a win.”

On day two the Eagles inched their way up the leaderboard and landed in second place. Junior Scott Wolfes shot a six-under-par 66, matching the lowest round of the tournament as well as his personal lowest score.

“The game of golf; you never know what you’re going to get,” Wolfes said. “I played well the second round and not my best the first and third round, but the team got the win and I was happy with it.”

The final round proved to be the most challenging and was filled with ups and downs for a number of the teams. GSU got off to a slow start, going back and forth with UTC and Western Carolina University, and finally, the championship title came down to very last hole where GSU undershot UTC by one stroke and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (+13) by four.

“It was pretty crazy to say the least,” Anderson said. “There was a lot going on, we were down after the first round and a couple teams came out playing really well. You didn’t know who was going to show up and win and eventually we were able to prevail and play well the final round and get the victory.”

Junior Charlie Martin finished as the top Eagle in an impressive fourth place and earned all conference honors along with Evans and Wolfes. Mays was named SoCon Coach of the Year. Even as the Eagles see their time in the SoCon and their regular season come to an end, preparations for regionals will soon be underway. As the past few tournaments have resulted in top finishes, the Eagles see their shot at the National Championship in the near future.

“We just fought. We wanted it just like we did the Schenkel,” Martin said. “I think it’s just great that we got so much team chemistry going right now. Everybody is working together, everybody is feeling good, and going into regionals, I think we’re going to do pretty well this year.”

“This is great group of kids, they’ve worked hard,” Mays said. “The two tournaments we won are the two biggest we played in. Now we want to go advance through regionals and get this team to the national championship. They’ve worked hard and that’s our next goal.”