The Oglethorpe men's golf team recovered from a tough Saturday at the Emory Spring Invitational to fire the second best round of the day Sunday, recording a 5-over-par 289 to vault a couple spots up the leaderboard into sixth place at Smoke Rise Country Club in Stone Mountain. The No. 20 Stormy Petrels finished 24 strokes back of the champions, No. 2 Huntingdon.
They came within a single stroke of fifth-place Wisconsin-Eau Claire and pulled in two strokes behind No. 16 Saint John's (Minnesota), who came in fourth. On the plus side, they finished ahead of No. 18 Greensboro, who finished tied for seventh, and No. 17 LaGrange, who finished ninth. All five teams will find themselves in contention for at-large spots to the NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championships if they don't win their conferences' automatic bids.
Senior Jake Arnett led the Petrels on the day, posting a 1-under 70 to finish the 54-hole event at 1-over 214 and finish tied for second, just three back of Huntingdon's Stephen Shephard for the individual medal.
Fellow senior Kyle Shealy earned a top 15 finish with a 7-over 220 tournament. That put him just nine strokes back of the winner in a tie for 14th place. He posted 4-over 75 on Sunday.
Freshman Justin Rickerson recovered from a rocky second round to fire a 1-under 70 on Sunday. That put him at 14-over 227 for the tournament, good enough for a 37th-place tie.
Sophomore Walker Bottomley played well while competing as an individual. He shot an impressive even-par 71 on Sunday to almost work himself into the top 20. He finished tied for 24th at 11-over 224 for the weekend.
The Petrels now head into the SAA Golf Championships April 26-28 with a chance to secure the aforementioned automatic bid. They'll take on No. 19 Rhodes and No. 21 Berry, among others, over 54 holes at Greystone Golf Club in Dickson, Tennessee.
Day 1 Recap
The Oglethorpe men's golf team played 36 holes at Smoke Rise Country Club in Stone Mountain Saturday and will enter Sunday's final round in ninth place out of 14 teams at the Emory Spring Invitational. The No. 20 Stormy Petrels posted 32-over-par 600 on the day and entered the clubhouse 22 strokes back of No. 2 Huntingdon, who held the Day 1 lead. The Petrels posted rounds of 15-over 299 and 17-over 301.
The Petrels enter the final round within striking distance of the top six, as they're within a stroke of No. 18 Greensboro, two of Sewanee and six of an Emory secondary team. That trio sat in eighth through sixth, respectively, at the end of Day 1.
Senior Jake Arnett led the Petrels on the day, posting rounds of 2-over 73 and even-par 71 to enter the clubhouse at 2-over 144, just four back of Huntingdon's Stephen Shephard for the individual lead. He posted three birdies and only three bogeys in his second round.
Fellow senior Kyle Shealy also ended the day in the top 10, coming in tied for 10th at 3-over 145. He posted an opening round of 3-over 74 before matching Arnett's even-par 71 in the second round. He, as well, posted three birdies and only three bogeys over his final round of the day. He'll enter Sunday's competition just five back of Shephard.
Sophomore Walker Bottomley finished the day in the top half of the field while golfing as an individual, following up an 8-over 79 with a 3-over 74 to end the day tied for 39th at 11-over 153.
The rest of the team struggled, though, with none of the other three Petrels on the official scorecard finishing the day higher than 59th out of an 82-player field.
The Petrels look to recover and move up the leaderboard on Sunday, when they tee off at 8:30 a.m. from Smoke Rise. Arnett and Shealy will get started at around 9 a.m.