Oglethorpe University completed a wire-to-wire run to claim the 2012 NCAA D-III Men's Golf Championship on Friday at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida. The title is the Stormy Petrels' second in four years for head coach Jim Owen and makes Oglethorpe just the sixth school to win multiple championships in the 37 year history of the event.
Petrel freshman Anthony Maccaglia (Tampa, Florida) shook off a balky start to his round to claim medalist honors, becoming just the fourth freshman (along with Methodist's Brion McLaughlin in 1997 and Chad Collins in 1998 and Oglethorpe's Olafur Loftsson in 2009) to claim the top individual prize. Additionally, Oglethorpe is now one of only three programs in the nation to have multiple individual champions. Methodist University and Cal State Stanislaus are the other two.
The Stormy Petrels entered the round with a 16-stroke advantage over Methodist and managed to keep most of the tournament drama on who would claim second, third and fourth place. The Pioneers of Transylvania tracked down Methodist for the second spot, besting the third place Monarchs by a scant stroke. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps claimed fourth.
Oglethorpe's Hayden Jones (Orlando, Florida) pushed Maccaglia, shrinking his pre-round 7 shot advantage down to 3 before settling for second place individually at even par for the Championships. Other individuals scoring top-5 finishes at the Championships were Dex Reese (Illinois Wesleyan) and Jeremy Sanders in a tie for third and Tain Lee (Mudd-Scripps) in fifth.
Maccaglia's stellar week that saw him finish the tournament as the only player under par at -5 was capped by a bevy of awards. He became an individual champion and team champion by the NCAA standards while also earning the Arnold Palmer Award for being the tournament medalist and Phil Mickelson Award as the nation's best freshman by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA). Jones, just a sophomore, earned First Team All-America status by the GCAA.
Oglethorpe sophomore Anthony Amodeo rallied from a difficult first two days to come home in a tie for 36th while senior Matt Rebitch (Delmont, Pa.) finished tied for 40th. Junior Eric Quinn (Norcross, Ga.) carded a tie for 66th place result.
"I couldn't be happier for this group of guys," said Owen. "After the fall season, they really embraced the team concept and started minimizing their mistakes. I knew coming down here we had a great chance to win, but never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined a 20 stroke victory."
Round 3 Coverage
For the third straight day of the 2012 NCAA D-III Men's Golf Championships, Oglethorpe University posted the round of the day on the course they were playing to now extend their tournament lead to 16 strokes. The Stormy Petrels have posted a team total of 867 (+3) through three rounds to keep second place Methodist University (883, +19) at arm's length. Oglethorpe carded a total of 292 on Wednesday to best the Monarchs for the low round by two shots. Meanwhile, 9 different squads are within nine strokes of one another for third place heading into tomorrow's final round.
Individually, Oglethorpe freshman Anthony Maccaglia continues to play beyond his years, this time matching his own low round of the tournament by firing a 4-under 68 on El Campeon today. Only one other player in the field shot a sub-70 round on Thursday, and that belonged to Methodist's Mike Duncan who used 7 birdies in his round to card a 69 and vault from a tie for 38th into a tie for 6th heaing into tomorrow.
Hayden Jones, Oglethorpe's sophomore from nearby Orlando, continued his steady, stellar play, carding a 72 on Thursday to remain in second place overall at -2 for the Championship, six shots behind teammate Maccaglia. Previous medalist and last year's runner-up Tain Lee of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps showed why he is a three-time All-America by posting a third round 71 to sit alone in third place a 1-under for the week.
Tomorrow's final round will get underway at 7:40 a.m. with the lead groups hitting the tee box at just after 9 a.m. Complete results and final round tee times are attached.
Notes and Quotes from around the Championship
One way to win an individual title is by minimizing one's mistakes. Another would be to bounce back from a mistake with a birdie to cover it up. Oglethorpe freshman Anthony Maccaglia has done both this week en route to leading the tournament by 6 strokes. "My bounce-back scoring has been great this week," he conceded. Indeed it has. Maccaglia has only carded 6 bogeys through 54 holes and he has responded to all but one by birdying the next hole.
Sometimes the end of a collegiate career will sneak up on you, as was the case with former medalist and three-time All-America Tain Lee of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Asked about his final collegiate round tomorrow, Lee responded, "I never thought about it until you just said that. It's been a great four years and I have definitely accomplished more than I ever expected to coming into college." The world of Division III golf will certainly miss a player of his caliber that is only rivaled by his kindness.
Mike Duncan of Methodist University made El Campeon his personal playground on Thursday, holing out 7 birdies on his way to a 3-under 69 on the day. His secret? "I never really got mad," he said. I made a couple of sloppy bogeys on 11 and 12 but never got mad and just kept rolling my putts. That was probably the best I've putted all year."
Lastly, from the "Tale of Two Rounds" file comes the story of Wittenburg's Craig Osterbrock. After enduring a painstaking 87 on El Campeon on Tuesday, Osterbrock returned to the scene of the crime on Thursday and flipped the script, posting a 1-under 71. How'd he execute the stark turnaround? "The big difference between today and Tuesday was that I kept the ball in play off the tee. I was really disappointed after the first day but have been determined since then to contribute to the team. It feels great…to get back at that course a little bit today."
ROUND TWO RECAP
Host institution Oglethorpe University expanded their lead to 14 strokes on day two of the 2012 NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championships being held at the Mission Inn Resorts in Howey-in –the-Hill, Florida.
The Stormy Petrels posted the third-best team score of the day (292, +4) and the best number among the squads competing on the demanding par-72 El Campeon Course. The Methodist University Monarchs sit alone in second place with a tournament total of +15 while the University of Texas at Tyler and Guilford College share third place at 19-over par for the Championship. A group of five teams lurk together just one shot back at 20-over to set up what should be a frenetic final two days on the leader board.
The round of the day belonged to Transylvania University, who bounced back from 308 on El Campeon yesterday to score an even par round of 288 on the Las Colinas Course. Huntingdon College was just one stroke off the pace set by the Pioneers on Colinas with a team-total of 289 that was spearheaded by the Hawks' Thomas Mitchell posting the low round of the tournament with a 67. Aside from Oglethorpe's 292, St. John Fisher College (294, +6) and Illinois Wesleyan University (297, +9) enjoyed the only sub-300 rounds on the El Campeon Course to position themselves nicely for the final two rounds.
Along with Micthell's 67, there were two other individual scores in the 60's on Wednesday turned in by Wittenburg University's David Wetterich (69, -3) and the University of La Verne's Derek Zachman (69, -3), and both came from the Los Colinas Course. Oglethorpe's freshman Anthony Maccaglia still resides atop the individual leader board after carding a 71 today on El Campeon. At 5-under for the Championship, Maccaglia is three strokes clear of three players in a tie for second place: Oglethorpe's Hayden Jones, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps' Brad Shigezawa and Nebraska Wesleyan's Drew Taylor.
Tomorrow's third round begins at 8 a.m. and will be played exclusively on the El Campeon Course amongst the 15 squads who survived the cut.
Notes and Quotes from Around the Championship
Wanting to climb back into the tournament, St. John Fisher's squad spent last night discussing course strategy at length. Their diligence paid off with the second-best score of the tournament on El Campeon. "We came up with a game plan for every hole and every shot," said head coach Bob Simms. "It kept our guys focused and I think made them less nervous because they were so intent on sticking to that game plan."
Illinois Wesleyan has been searching for a solid fourth score to post each day, but head coach Jim Ott was pleased with Wednesday's team score of 297 on El Campeon. "We got two good bounce-back days to get us back in position," he said, referring to Shane Smith and Teddy Kon each shaking off a rough round one with a 72 and 71, respectively.
Nebraska Wesleyan's Drew Taylor, who's tied for second, is happy with his game but chagrined his team couldn't survive the cut. "I kind of figured things out earlier in the week with my swing," he offered. "I felt like coming in that if I could shoot around par the first two days I might have a chance. The goal was for the team to make the cut, but if we didn't I wanted to at least shoot two good rounds and play on Thursday and Friday."
Wittenburg's David Wetterich proved how much ground a competitor can make up with a great round. He carded a 69 on Las Colinas today to rocket from 83rd place into a tie for 17th, a position if he holds on Friday that will be good enough for All-America status. "We talked about how you could score on Las Colinas and I got off to a great start today." Indeed, he did, posting birdies on four of his first five holes to set up the stellar round.
St. John Fisher's Tyler McArdell's round of 72 exemplified the good day the Cardinals enjoyed on El Campeon. "I just had to fight hard," he said, adding, "I got up and down from a couple of tough spots early on and then managed to go birdie-birdie coming in to finish the round off."
Another squad making a move up the board today was Huntingdon College from Montgomery, Alabama. "I thought we kept our composure pretty well," said head coach Matt Mahanic. "We made two triple bogeys today, which bothers me, but yesterday, we compounded those bad holes with more bad holes. Today we had a bad hole and then fought back. I see two more good rounds in our future."
Transylvania took to the course with heavy hearts today as they learned late last night that their retired legendary golf coach Harry Stephenson had passed away. Still, the Pioneers managed to honor his memory well with the low round of the day to climb into contention. Head Coach Brian Lane was one of Stephenson's pupils at Transy, had this to say about the sad news: "Harry was somebody that basically raised me. There are a lot of Transylvania folks out there today with heavy hearts because he was just one of those fabulous guys."
DAY ONE RECAP
The 2012 NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championships got underway Tuesday at the Mission Inn Resorts in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida with host institution Oglethorpe University jumping out to the lead following round one.
The Stormy Petrels fired a team total of 285 (-3) on the 6,895 yard par-72 Las Colinas Course to edge in front of second place Claremont-Mudd Scripps (289, +1) and third place Christopher Newport (290, +2). The top-8 team scores turned in on Tuesday came from the more forgiving Colinas Course with the 6,926 yard par-72 El Campeon Course playing significantly more difficult.
The University of Texas at Tyler and Guilford College managed the conditions on the El Campeon Course best, each carding identical team totals of 300 (+12). Gustavus Adolphus College carded a 301 (+13) on El Campeon to position themselves nicely with a trip over to Las Colinas for round two tomorrow.
Individually, Oglethorpe's Anthony Maccaglia and Mudd-Scripps' Brad Shigezawa are tied after posting matching 68's on Las Colinas. Maccaglia closed his round with consecutive birdies to match Shigezawa, whose afternoon featured seven birdies. Andrew Bateman and Mike Westo of Methodist University, along with Brian Jaeger of Christopher Newport University, are in a three-way tie for third after firing rounds of 2-under par 70. As was the case with the team scoring, the top-8 individual scores all came from players on Las Colinas.
A bunched group of 11 players are tied for 9th place overall after carding even par rounds of 70. In that group of 11 are four individuals who handled the El Campeon Course with the lowest scores. Thos individuals are Ryna Dagerman (Emory University), Simon Erlandsson (Gustavus Adolphus), Alex Kapraun (University of St. Thomas – Minnesota) and Tyler McMorrow (Texas-Tyler).
Round two will get underway at 7 a.m. Tuesday with the field being cut down to the top 15 teams for Thursday and Friday's action.
Notes and quotes from around the Championships:
A veteran coach with loads of Championship experience, Texas-Tyler's King Campbell knows the opening round doesn't tell the complete story. "I always say you can't judge the scores until after the first two rounds are complete," said Campbell after his Patriots tied for the best score of the day (300, +12) on El Campeon. "We felt El Campeon was playing 6 to 8 strokes tougher than Los Colinas and we certainly didn't play ourselves out of it today. We struggled on (the par 5) 17 coming in, but overall I was pleased with today's performance."
Scott Moe, Head Coach for Gustavus Adolphus, certainly gets the Iron Man award for the double –duty he's pulled in the past two weeks. Just last weekend, Coach Moe was guiding the Gusties' women's golf squad to an 11th place overall finish at the NCAA Championships in Angola, Indiana. His reward for pulling the off the yeoman's work unique to Division III athletics? How about the first available tee time on Tuesday morning bright and early at 7 a.m. It didn't affect his squad, though, who posted the second best score of the day on El Campeon. "I thought we managed it well," said Moe, adding, "Holes 4, 5, 6 and 7 are really tough, but we got through them okay. After that, we put a nice string of birdies together on the back 9 to put ourselves in better position heading into tomorrow."
The last time the Mission Inn hosted the D-III Men's Golf Championships was 2005 and Guilford College came away with the hardware. The Quakers are back at the Championships in 2012 looking for another trophy. Current Head Coach Cory Maggard remembers the 2005 Championships well, as he was on site as a competitor for Transylvania University that year. Today, his Guilford squad tied for the best round at El Campeon with a team total of 300. "I'm pleased with today," said Maggard. "We have three freshmen this year at their first National Championship. One of them (Mitch Robinette) started with 2 bogeys on his first three and then made 15 pars after that. Another one of our freshmen (Andrew Thompson) led the squad today with a 73. We'll need to go low tomorrow on Colinas to give ourselves a chance."
Emory University's Ryan Dagerman led the individuals on the El Campeon Course with a nifty round of even par 70 on Tuesday. How'd he do it on the tougher course? "I managed to keep it in play and around the green, and not make too many big numbers which is key in a Championship event," he said. "I had a lot of 4 or 5 footers I was able to hole out."
Transylvania's Justin Tereshko is used to better scoring days than the 82 he posted on El Campeon today. Still, his uncharacteristic struggles were lessened a bit when he aced the par-3 15th hole. "I shot it at 134 (yards) and the wind was slightly into me," he said. "I just hit a 9-iron, it looked good the whole way and then I saw it disappear." His parents were in attendance for the occasion. On his parents witnessing the rare feat: "I think they enjoyed it," Tereshko slyly said.
Individual leader Brad Shigezawa of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps played the back nine in 3-under to advance up the leader board. "I got off to a slow start with a bogey at number one but was able to cover it up with a lot of birdies," said Shigezawa. Indeed he did. In all, Shigezawa carded 7 birdies in his round.
So how did Oglethorpe manage to be the lone team under par after the first round? By being the only squad in the field to not card a double bogey or worse in their 90 combined holes of golf. "That was one of our goals for the Championship– keep the big numbers off the card," said Oglethorpe Head Coach Jim Owen. "These courses are very difficult, and if you make it more difficult by scoring big numbers, you're going to have problems."