Men's golf places four on All-SAA teams; Arnett named Golfer of the Year, Owen Coach of the Year

Men's golf places four on All-SAA teams; Arnett named Golfer of the Year, Owen Coach of the Year

The Oglethorpe men's golf team placed four players on the All-SAA teams released this week by the conference office and earned two end-of-season awards. Senior Jake Arnett took his second straight SAA Men's Golfer of the Year honor, while head coach Jim Owen garnered his fifth SAA Coach of the Year nod. Arnett joined senior Kyle Shealy and freshman Justin Rickerson in grabbing All-SAA first-team honors, while sophomore Anthony DeRosa came in with an All-SAA second-team nod.

In addition to earning the conference's top honor for a men's golfer, Arnett swept to his first career individual SAA championship with a three-round score of 11-under-par 205. It marked the school's third individual SAA title and broke the record for the best three-day score in SAA Championships history. It was his third individual medal of the season, after he took the honors at the SAA Fall Preview and the Oglethorpe-Royal Lakes Fall Invitational. He's also garnered seven top 10 finishes this season and did not finish worse than eighth the entire spring season. He's currently the 13th-ranked player in all of Division III golf. This season marked his fourth consecutive All-SAA honor and his third straight first-team nod. He earned second-team honors after his freshman season of 2016.

Owen grabbed his first SAA coaching award since 2016 and his 15th overall conference coach of the year award dating back to the program's time in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. In addition to leading the Stormy Petrels to their third SAA championship and 13th overall conference title over the weekend, he oversaw a turnaround from a team that was ranked 53rd in the Golfstat Relative Rankings after the fall season to one that's ranked 17th today. After tying for first at the SAA Fall Preview in early September, the team finished no better than 10th in any of their remaining tournaments in the fall, then didn't finish worse than sixth in any tournament during the spring. The latter feat included wins at the Adidas Intercollegiate and SAA Championships. The Petrels are ranked 20th in the latest Division III coaches poll and, by virtue of winning the conference title, have automatically qualified for the NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championships to take place May 14-17 in Nicholasville, Kentucky. That will mark the 19th NCAA tournament appearance for the Petrels under Owen.

Shealy earned his third career All-SAA first-team nod. He finished his season with a flourish at the SAA Championships, tying for third at 1-over 217. He came back from a difficult fall in outstanding fashion, earning top 30 finishes in each of his five spring tournaments, including tallying a pair of top 15 finishes to wind out the season. He's one of the best players in the nation at avoiding three-putt holes, averaging just 0.42 per round. That mark places him third in the nation in that category.

Rickerson exploded onto the scene during the spring of his freshman season. He posted three top-five finishes over his final five tournaments, coming in tied for fourth at the Adidas Intercollegiate, tied for fifth at the Camp Lejeune Intercollegiate Golf Championship, and tied for third at the SAA Championships. At the conference tournament, he posted a 1-over 217 over the three rounds.

DeRosa earned his second straight All-SAA nod after taking home first-team and SAA Newcomer of the Year honors in 2018. He earned four top 20 finishes over the course of the season, including a tie for sixth at the SAA Championships. In that tournament, he posted a 54-hole score of 3-over 219. His best finish of the year was a tie for fourth at the prestigious Jekyll Island Collegiate Invitational in mid-March. There, he fired an impressive 5-under 211 over three rounds.