Atack and Wilkinson have Wolves in striking distance at UMO Invitational

Atack and Wilkinson have Wolves in striking distance at UMO Invitational
Monday, April 6, 2015 | by Chas Goodwin, Athletic Communications Assistant

GOLDSBORO, N.C. – The Newberry Wolves have set themselves in striking distance for Tuesday’s final 18 holes at the UMO Invitational – The Trojan hosted by Mount Olive at the par-72, 6,875-yard Walnut Creek Country Club.

The Wolves posted their second-lowest round of the season in the second round with a 287 team score. It was also the lowest team score in round two. Paired up with the first round total of 294, Newberry competed the first 36 holes with a 581 total score, putting them only one stroke behind day-one leader Limestone (580).

UNC Pembroke (585), Queens University of Charlotte (591), Barton (593) and Lander (593) complete the top five with Limestone and Newberry in the 13 team playing field.

Sophomore Luke Atack (Hamilton, Canada) was stellar on the first day shooting 71 and 72, respectively, for a 1-under par 143. He sits tied for the lead heading into the final 18 holes on Tuesday. These are the lowest back-to-back round scores that Atack has posted and the 71 is his career-low at Newberry.

Atack is tied with Limestone’s Griffin Brown and the duo are one stroke ahead of four players that carded even-par 144s.

One of the players that sits a stroke behind Atack is fellow teammate Ryan Wilkinson (Gallivants Ferry, S.C.) who put up a 4-over par 76 in the first round but stormed back with a 4-under 68 in the second round to score an even 144 on the day.

The senior shot 3-under on the back nine that included two birdies and an eagle in the final five holes to complete his run to the top of the leaderboard. The 68 is the lowest round of his career, besting his first round of the Lander Bearcat Classic of 69 set two weeks ago.

Tommy Hurst (Miami, Fla.) is tied for 12th after shooting 72 and 75, respectively, for a 147. The senior is just four strokes behind the leaders heading into the last round. However, Hurst did have the shot of the day as he connected with a 3-wood from 245 yards out on the 525-yard, par-5 11th hole and sank it for the extremely rare albatross, otherwise known as a double-eagle.

Evan DeGrazia (Thunder Bay, Canada) totaled a 149 with a 75 and 74 to finish the first 36-holes tied for 24th while JP Ferguson (Traveler’s Rest, S.C.) also posted a 149. Ferguson dropped three strokes from the first two round as he shot a 76 and then a 73.

Fredrick Fossum (Levanger, Norway) competed in the individual ranks and posted scores of 75 and 77 on the day to tie for 35th with a 152.

“The team had a good day today,” Newberry head men’s golf coach Howard Vroon said. “We played steadily and had good rhythm all day, getting back to what we know makes us effective after getting away from that brieftly in Miami.”

“Ryan’s [Wilkinson] round this afternoon was special,” Vroon stated. “He hurt his shoulder early in the round, but composed himself and found an effort level that was effective despite the pain in his shoulder. Evan [DeGrazia] got a stinger too, so for a while we looked like a team with a couple wheels off the axles and for us to compose ourseleves and shoot the low round of the day in the afternoon was a great accomplishment for the team.”

“Luke [Atack] continued with his very solid play, JP [Ferguson] also played very nicely this afternoon while Fred [Fossum] competed as an individual and also had a productive day,” Vroon said. “Tommy [Hurst] is struggling a bit, but he is such a tough player and is getting a lot out of his rounds through pure grit and determination. He also made a two on a par-5 (double eagle) which is very, very rare, congrats to Tommy on the albatross.”

“All in all it was a very good day for the Wolves and we are looking forward to the opportunity tomorrow,” Vroon said. “It will be a challenging day for us but I think we are up to it.”

Newberry will take the second seed in tomorrow’s final round, pairing them up with first-seeded Limestone and third-seeded UNC Pembroke for the 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. Atack and Wilkinson will be off the first tee while Hurst and DeGrazia will be off of the second hole. Ferguson will tee it up on hole three to start the day and Fossum will be off of number 18 for the Wolves.