Wolves set to host opening tournament at historic Ocean Course

Wolves set to host opening tournament at historic Ocean Course
Friday, February 13, 2015 | by Chas Goodwin, Athletic Communications Assistant

NEWBERRY – The Newberry College men’s golf team will get the spring season started in style as they will host the Newberry College Invitational at the prestigious Ocean Course at Kiawah Island. This will be the first tournament that Newberry has hosted since the 2011-12 season when they hosted the Honda of Columbia Fall Classic at Mid-Carolina Country Club and the Magnolia Invitational at the Orangeburg Country Club.

This will be the first tournament Newberry has hosted at a marquee location such as the Ocean Course. The course has hosted many prestigious events since its inception in 1991. The Ocean Course was built by Pete Dye and has hosted events such as the Ryder Cup (1991), World Cup (1997 and 2003), UBS Cup (2001), 2005 PGA Professional National Championship, the Senior PGA in 2007 and the PGA Championship most recently in 2012. It has been named by multiple sources as one of the top 20 courses throughout the United States, North America and the world.

To host a tournament at one of the most coveted golf courses means you must also put together a fantastic playing field and the Wolves have exceeded fantastic and made this a deep playing field for February 16-17.

Newberry will play to host to 17 teams in the coming week as Barton, Belmont Abbey, Brevard, Catawba, Coker, Erskine, Flagler, Georgia Southwestern, King, Limestone, Mars Hill, Missouri - St. Louis, Mt. Olive, North Greenville, Southern Wesleyan, Tusculum and Valdosta State will all make the trip down to Kiawah Island to take part in this once and a lifetime opportunity.

“Everyone involved in the program – coaches, players and boosters – are excited about the Ocean Course event,” head coach Howard Vroon said. “We have a full field of 18 teams in our inaugural event, which is a testament to the quality of the venue. The field includes four teams ranked in the top 20 in the nation. This promises to be an outstanding event and we could not be more pleased to be hosting it. We are very grateful to Stephen Youngner at the Ocean Course for making it possible.”

The Wolves are amped up with excitement to play on this historic course as this will kick off their tournament run in the 2015 spring season. Newberry had a rocky fall season but saw some promise from some young players, finishing in the top 10 in two of the four tournaments and recording top 12 finishes in each tournament. They turned in an eighth place finish at the University of North Georgia Fall Invitational and a ninth place finish at the historic Jay Jennison Memorial. At the Rock Barn Intercollegiate they tied for 11th and finished 12th in the rain shortened Kiawah Island Invitational at the Cougar Point Golf Course.

“Our team is very good and very solid,” Vroon stated. “We have outstanding leadership from our three senior captains, JP Ferguson (Travelers Rest, S.C.), Tommy Hurst (Miami, Fla.) and Ryan Wilkinson (Gallivants Ferry, S.C.). Our preparation for the Ocean Course event has been very good and very competitive. But this year’s team has not achieved anything to speak of yet. We are looking forward to finding out just how good we are, and how good we can be. I believe that we can be exceptional.”

The Newberry squad will look to Ferguson, Hurst and Wilkinson as they carry the lowest stroke per round averages on the team. Ferguson participated in six rounds in the fall, tallying a 75.3 stroke average. His best tournament came when he shot a 2-over par 218 at the University of North Georgia Fall Invitational to finish tied for 16th. The 218 was the lowest 54-hole tournament score of his career and the 70 he carded in the third round was his lowest 18-hole score of his career at Newberry. Hurst took part in all nine rounds this past fall and averaged the lowest stroke per round score of any Newberry golfer with a 74.2. His best round came in the rained shortened Kiawah Island Invitational as he carded a 4-under par 68 and finished tied for second out of 90 players. That was the lowest score in his career for Newberry. Wilkinson turned in a solid fall shooting a 74.7 stroke per round average and shooting his career low 18-hole score in the second round of the Jay Jennison Memorial where he finished tied for ninth place.

Fellow senior Nick Lussier (Barton, Vt.) also competed in all nine rounds, averaging 76 strokes per round. He turned in a few career lows as he carded a career low 18-hole score of 73 in the final round of the University of North Georgia Fall Invitaional en route to his career low 54-hole score of 222. At the Rock Barn Intercollegiate he turned in a 36-hole low after carding a 75 and 79 for a 154 total score, two strokes off his previous best.

Junior Fredrik Fossum (Levanger, Norway) contended in eight rounds and averaged 76.3 strokes per round and carding his career low 18-hole score and 54-hole score, both at the University of North Georgia Fall Invitational. He tallied a first round score of 72 on his way to shooting a 223 for the tournament.

Sophomore Luke Atack (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) took part in five rounds in his first semester for the Wolves and turned in a 54-hole score of 223 in the University of North Georgia Fall Invitational including his low 18-hole score of the fall with a 72 in the second round.

Fellow sophomore Evan DeGrazia (Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada) also saw his first action for Newberry as he participated at the Kiawah Island Invitational carding a 79. Freshman Spencer Skiff (Aiken, S.C.) also took part in the Kiawah Island Invitational and also carded a 79 in the rain shortened event.

2015 Newberry College Invitational Participating Teams


GolfStat Ranking

Quick Facts



Four top 12 finishes in four tournaments



Two top five finishes in the fall

Belmont Abbey


8th place finish at Rock Barn Intercollegiate



Runner up at Etowah Intercollegiate



Three top five finishes in the fall



9th place finish at Matt Dyas Invitational



Won Anderson Invitational and tied Flagler for 1st at Kiawah Island Invitationals



Won Jay Jennison Memorial and tied Erskine for 1st at Kiawah Island Invitational

Georgia Southwestern


Finished second at both North Georgia Fall Invitational and Rock Barn Intercollegiate



Finished 3rd at King University Invitational



Won Smokey Mountain Invitational and finished 3rd at Jay Jennison Memorial

Mars Hill


Won Myrtle Beach Intercollegiate, tied for 3rd at Tusculum Fall Classic

Missouri – St. Louis


Finished 2nd in Brickyard Crossing and Midwest Regional, 3rd at UIS Island Getaway

Mt. Olive


Three top 10 finishes including a 3rd place finish at the Myrtle Beach Intercollegiate

North Greenville


Won Etowah Intercollegiate and King University Fall Invitational

Southern Wesleyan


Won NCCAA South Regional and tied for 6th at NCCAA National Tournament



Won Walters State Fall Classic and finished 2nd at the Tusculum Fall Classic

Valdosta State


Tied for 6th of 15 at Matlock Collegiate