MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. - The Newberry College men's golf team came into Thursday's NCAA Division II National Tournament quarterfinal match against Cal State-Monterey Bay on a hot streak, but the third-seeded Otters earned a 3-2 win over the sixth-seeded Wolves to advance to the semifinal round this afternoon at the Fighting Joe Course of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at the Shoals.
Newberry's most successful season comes to an end in the national quarterfinals, where the Wolves will officially tie for fifth place in the event. The 2010-11 Wolves set the new school record for lowest stroke average at 292.0. The Wolves also notched the highest national finish of any South Atlantic Conference team in the league's history, beating Elon's 10th place finish in 1997.
Seniors Ben Lown (North Augusta, S.C.) and Daniel Stanley (Inman, S.C.) wrapped up their careers as two of the most successful golfers in the history of the program and the conference.
Lown ends his collegiate career with a school record 104 collegiate rounds and a 73.8 stroke average, which is second in the conference's history. Lown won his match in the second position on Thursday, defeating CSUMB's Dylan Jackson 73 strokes to 75. Lown had three birdies on holes 11, 16 and 17 with four bogeys compared to Jackson's two birdies and five bogeys.
Stanley played his 100th career round Thursday, becoming just the third player in conference history to reach the century mark. He ends his collegiate career with a SAC record 72.8 career stroke average, including an average of 72.4 strokes per round this season. Stanley lost his match in the first position to CSUMB All-American John Jackson, as Jackson carded a 3-under par 69 compared to Stanley's 5-over par 77. Stanley had three birdies on holes 11, 16 and 4, but a triple bogey on hole 3 put Stanley out of contention.
Chandler Gruenemeier (Jacksonville, Fla.) earned a one-stroke win over DJ Milligan in the fifth position, 75-76. Gruenemeier had birdies on holes 12 and 17 with three bogeys and a double bogey, while Milligan also had two birdies and a double bogey, but had five bogeys.
In the fourth position, Matthew Campbell (Rome, N.Y.) had a rough day, dropping his match to Scott Yeakel, 74-85. A tough stretch of five holes in the middle of the round was too much for the SAC Player of the Year to overcome.
With those four matches essentially decided with four holes to go, the clinching match came down to the third position, as Matthew Killen (Yorkshire, England) faced off against Oskar Nystrom from CSUMB. Both players had shaky starts, but were even after two holes. Killen took a two stroke lead after three straight birdies on holes 12, 13 and 4, and extended the lead to four strokes when Nystrom double bogeyed 15. A Nystrom bogey on 18 gave Killen a five-stroke advantage at the turn.
The next two holes were the turning point of the match, as Nystrom birdied hole 1 and Killen double bogeyed to cut his lead to two strokes. Bogeys on 2 and 4 evened the match back up with five holes to play. Nystrom took the lead by one stroke on hole six as he bogeyed and Killen double bogeyed, and the Otter pushed the lead to two strokes with a birdie on 7.
Nystrom bogeyed the eighth hole to make it a one-stroke difference on the final hole. Killen hit his tee shot close to the pin, but too much backspin on the ball caused it to roll into the hazard, which made the two-stroke swing needed nearly impossible. Nystrom shot even par on the hole while Killen bogeyed to clinch the win for CSUMB.
Despite the narrow defeat in the national quarterfinals, the 2010-11 season was still a phenomenal ride for the Wolves. Four tournament championships were claimed by Newberry including the Division I Rutgers Invitational, the Honda of Columbia Fall Classic, the Will Wilson Southeast Regional Preview and the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Championships.
The Wolves claimed their third conference championship in the last four seasons, their fourth straight NCAA Regional appearance and second NCAA National Tournament appearance, wrapping up in the quarterfinals today.
NCAA Division II Match Play Quarterfinals
3-seed Cal State-Monterey Bay vs. 6-seed Newberry
RTJ Trail at the Shoals - Fighting Joe
Muscle Shoals, Ala.
Date: May 19, 2011
Par 72, 7150 yards
Match 5: Chandler Gruenemeier (NEW) def. DJ Milligan, 75-76 - NEW leads 1-0
Match 4: Scott Yeakel (CSUMB) def. Matthew Campbell, 74-85 - Match tied 1-1
Match 3: Oskar Nystrom (CSUMB) def. Matthew Killen, 76-78 - CSUMB leads 2-1
Match 2: Ben Lown (NEW) def. Dylan Jackson, 73-75 - Match tied 2-2
Match 1: John Jackson (CSUMB) def. Daniel Stanley, 69-77 - CSUMB wins match 3-2