DeGrazia posts top 20 finish; Wolves finish 11th

DeGrazia posts top 20 finish; Wolves finish 11th
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 | by Chas Goodwin, Athletic Communications Assistant

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The Newberry College Wolves men’s golf team wrapped up the Barry University Buccaneer Invitational with a solid 295 in the final round to finish the tough playing field in 11th place.

The tournament was held at the par-71, 6,733-yard Normandy Shores Golf Club and sported six teams ranked in the top 20 in the country in the 17-team field.

Newberry started out slow in the first round with a 309 but dropped 15 strokes in round two yesterday to shoot 294 to sit in 12th going into the final round. The Wolves posted a 295 team score on Tuesday to complete the event with an 898 and jump up one spot to 11th in the final standings.

Lynn took home the trophy after shooting an 846, the fourth-best score in the tournament’s history.

Nova Southeastern (859), Eastern Florida State (867), Barry (868) and Central Missouri (877) completed the top five in the tournament while Johnson & Wales (881), Florida Tech (887), St. Thomas Aquinas (893), Valdosta State (894) and Midwestern State (895) rounded out the top 10.

The Wolves finished ahead of two, top-10 programs as they were three strokes ahead of No. 7 St. Leo and nine strokes in front of No. 10 Central Oklahoma.

Kerry Sweeney of Eastern Florida State took home the individual trophy as he was 9-under par for the three round event for a 204, tied for the second lowest score in the tournament's history. Lynn’s Keith Greene was the runner-up with a 210 while Florida Tech’s Ray Badenhorst finished with a 211 in third. Lynn’s Elliott Whitley and Nova Southeastern’s Santiago Gomez rounded out the top five with 212s to tie for fourth.

Evan DeGrazia (Thunder Bay, Canada) competed in just his third event for the Newberry Wolves and recorded his first top 20 finish, coming in 13th.  The sophomore totaled a career low 54-hole score with a 216 as he carded rounds of 73, 72 and 71, just one stroke shy of his career 18-hole low in the final round.

Ryan Wilkinson (Gallivant’s Ferry, S.C.) tied for 23rd place as he totaled a 221 for the three-round event. He tallied round scores of 75, 73 and 73, respectively. The 73s were the third lowest rounds of the season for the senior and four strokes off his career low of 69 set in the first round of the Lander Bearcat Classic last week.

Tommy Hurst (Miami, Fla.) came back from a first round 79 to record a pair of 74s to end the tournament tied for 50th in the stacked 90 player competition. He compiled a 54-hole score of 227 for the event, his fourth lowest score of the year.

Luke Atack (Hamilton, Canada) shot a 77 in Tuesday’s final round to finish with a 234 (82, 75 and 77) while Spencer Skiff (Aiken, S.C.) improved in every round to shoot a 250 (85, 84 and 81) to round out the scoring for Newberry.

“This was an awesome trip for the men’s golf program," head men's golf coach Howard Vroon said. "To be able to travel to the hometown of one of our senior captains, Tommy Hurst, and compete is a special way to honor Tommy and all he has meant to our program. The Hurst family was also tremendous in their hospitality to us while we were in Miami.”

"Unfortunately, we did not play well in the opening round on Monday," Vroon stated. "We were too careful on a course that did require some precision into the greens and even Tommy was a little tight, playing on his home turf. We relaxed a little bit on Monday afternoon and played solidly again on Tuesday, but never did get fully comfortable." 

"The field was exceptionally strong, featuring four teams ranked in the top 10 in the country," Vroon said, "so it was a great experience for us and a memorable trip to Miami. Also seeing Evan [DeGrazia] play well was especially gratifying. He has rebuilt his game since arriving here in September, and he has worked very hard to get back to where he is now, I’m very happy for Evan.”

The Wolves will compete in one more tournament, the UMO Invitational – The Trojan, next Monday and Tuesday, April 6-7, before heading to the South Atlantic Conference Tournament on April 19-21.