Newberry on the hunt for fourth SAC title

Newberry on the hunt for fourth SAC title
Saturday, April 18, 2015 | by Chas Goodwin, Athletic Communications Assistant

MARVIN, N.C. – The Newberry Wolves men’s golf team is set to begin the 2015 South Atlantic Conference Championship Tournament this Sunday-Tuesday, April 19-21. The 54-hole event is taking place at the Firethorne Country Club in Marvin, N.C. The Wolves finished third in last year’s event at the Sevierville Golf Club in Sevierville, Tenn.

Newberry competed in eight tournaments this season and played one of the more rigorous schedules of any SAC team, as many of the events featured team’s ranked in the top 50 in the country.

Of the eight events, the Wolves found themselves in the top 10 four times, including two finishes in the top five. Their best finish of the year came in a third place finish at the University of Mount Olive Invitational in Goldsboro, N.C., on April 6-7.  

At the Lander Bearcat Golf Classic on March 23-24, the Wolves brought home a top five finish while they recorded a ninth place weekend at the Jay Jennison Memorial and took eighth at the University of North Georgia Fall Invitational to round out their top 10 bids.

The scarlet and gray have three South Atlantic Conference tournament titles under their belt as they won back-to-back crowns in 2008 and 2009. They also came out on top in 2011, earning their second team bid to the NCAA Division II National tournament, the first came in 2008.

Eralier this week two Wolves were recognized by the South Atlantic Conference. Senior’s Tommy Hurst (Miami, Fla.) and Ryan Wilkinson (Gallivant’s Ferry, S.C.) took home second team and honorable mention plaudits, respectively. This marks the second honor for Hurst in his tenure at Newberry and the first for Wilkinson. 

Hurst finished tied for fourth at last year’s event with a 54-hole score of 228 (79, 74 and 75) while Wilkinson was 29th with a 240 (78, 82 and 80).

Hurst led the Wolves with a 74.4 stroke per round average this season. He set his career round low with 68s in the first round of the Kiawah Island Invitational and the Lander Bearcat Classic, finishing in second place at both events. The Lander Bearcat Classic was also the career 54-hole score for Hurst as he carded rounds of 68, 71 and 69 to finish with an 8-under par 208.

The senior sits in seventh place in the all-time Newberry record books with a 75.34 career stroke average. Just behind former Newberry greats Daniel Stanley, Matthew Campbell, Ben Lown, Chandler Gruenemeier, Jon Weiss and Matthew Killen. Stanley leads the pack with a 72.81 average for his career (100 rounds).

Newberry Career Stats

2015 Newberry Men's Golf Stats

Wilkinson has dropped two strokes off his round average since last season, shooting a 74.6 for the 2014-15 campaign. He nothced two top 10 finishes as he was tied for ninth at the Jay Jennison Memorial with a 220 back in the fall. However, he set career marks at the University of Mount Olive Invitational with a 4-under 68 in the second round en route to a third place finish with a 1-under par 215 (76, 68 and 71).

In his career, Wilkinson carries a 76.7 stroke average which ranks ninth in the all-time record books.

Hurst and Wilkinson will lead the Wolves on the hunt for the SAC crown in a star-studded field that includes three teams entering the tournament ranked in the top 50 in the country, according to Ten of the 12 South Atlantic Conference institutions are marked in the top 100 in the country of the 208 ranked teams in the April 15 Golfstat listings.

Newberry enters the three-day event with an average team score of 299.9 per tournament, the sixth best average in school history and the lowest since 2012.

"We are very excited about the SAC Championship," head coach Howard Vroon said. "We've played some good golf this spring and we have been getting better, thanks to great commitment by the players every day at practice. We are really going to enjoy playing this week, Firethorne is a very good golf course and Charlotte is a great venue city. We plan to be at our best this week and come away with more great memories of a very eventful spring season."

The Wolves have tee times from 8:30 a.m. through 9:06 a.m. on Sunday morning, with all players going off the first tee in nine minute intervals. Be sure to check for updated scores and daily tee times. Livestats for the event are available and the link is listed below. 

2015 SAC Tournament Livestats