GREENWOOD – Newberry used a final-round 291, matching its second-round score from Monday, to maintain second position on the leaderboard at the Bearcat Golf Classic in a field of 18 teams.
The Wolves have now finished first or second in four of their seven tournaments on the season. Newberry’s worst finish was sixth place of 16 at last week’s Cape Fear Invitational, a tournament comprised almost entirely of Division I teams; the Wolves have ascended to the seventh position in the most recent Golfstat Division II rankings and lead the Southeast Region.
Tournament host Lander won the team competition playing on its home course. The Bearcats were a stroke under par for the day to finish at seven over for the tournament, defeating the Wolves by seven strokes. Newberry, which was in fifth place after the first round but surged into the runner-up position during the second, was five shots ahead of third-place Georgia College.
Spencer Skiff climbed up seven spots on the leaderboard with a 72, his 13th round of the season at or below par of 21 played, to finish in sixth place. The Aiken native finished the tournament at two over par, tied with three other golfers. It marked Skiff’s sixth top-10 finish of the season.
Joining Skiff in the top 10 was Ben Thompson. The sophomore from Scarborough, Ontario landed a four over for the tournament for his third top-10 finish. Carlos Leandro was two shots back in a six-way tie for 19th, leaving Evan DeGrazia one stroke outside the top 20. DeGrazia tied for 25th at seven-over to give Newberry its fourth score. Harry Bolton rebounded from a difficult opening round to shoot a pair of 73’s in the final two and finish at nine-over in a tie for 37th.
Newberry was first of the seven South Atlantic Conference teams in attendance. The Wolves finished nine shots clear of their closest league competitor, fourth-place Lincoln Memorial. Coker rounded out the top five at 27 over par, four shots behind Lincoln Memorial.
Newberry’s three-round score of 878 brought its four-player scoring average for the season to 291.6, currently the program’s best showing since at least the 2005-06 season.
The Wolves return to action April 9 and 10 at The Trojan, hosted by Mount Olive, in the team’s final tune-up before the 2017 South Atlantic Conference Men’s Golf Championship.
Coach Vroon's thoughts:
“We enjoyed playing in the Bearcat. The course was set up to be very challenging, and that normally suits us. Lander is ranked sixth in the country, so we knew they would be difficult to beat on their home course. We got off to a slow start on Monday, and we never really got anything going. Out of character for us, we were very undisciplined for long stretches of holes. Our course management was not as respectful as it usually is. We did not manage our physical games very well. And we did not compete from the opening hole. So we got behind, and never could close the gap.
"But this loss will help us in the future, as this team continues to learn and improve. Ben played a great tournament and got some more experience playing in the No. 1 spot in the final round. Evan played freely on Monday and had a great 36 hole day. Carlos played a fantastic final round, as his 70 today tied for low round of the day I believe. So these Wolves are rounding into form throughout the roster, at the right time of year. We will need five players playing well to advance out of the South/Southeast Super Regional in May. And this team is working hard towards that.”