NOBLESVILLE, I.N.– Scott Wolfes shot a 71 to tie for 11th, but the Georgia Southern men’s golf team posted a 304 to finish 10th at the NCAA Regional at The Sagamore Club Saturday (May 16th, 2015)
The top five teams and the low individual not on those teams from each regional advanced to the NCAA Finals at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, F.L. The Eagles saw their season come to a close.
Illinois (-4) and SMU shared first place, and UNLV (-1) took third. UCLA (+5) and Oregon (+7) rounded out the top-5. Colorado’s David Oraee (-7) earned the individual advancing spot, and Brian Campbell (-10) of Illinois took medalist honors.
Kim Koivu shot 77 today and tied for 43rd, while Archer Price shot 77 and tied for 51st. Matt Mierzejewski carded a 79, and Andrew Klasing posted an 86.
“We’re disappointed to have the year end at Regionals, but I couldn’t have been more proud of the hard work and effort throughout this year,” said Georgia Southern coach Carter Collins. “We achieved many of our goals this year and are proud of our successes on the course and also in the classroom. We will build on that success in the future and can’t wait to get started again in the fall.”
The Eagles teed off on hole 10 today, and after a birdies on holes 12 and 15, Wolfes sank a 15-foot downhill putt on 16 to move to 2-under-par. The senior saved par on 18 after driving it into the water and after a bogey on hole 1, birdied the par-5 second hole. He scrambled for that birdie, chipping out of some dense rough after a wayward tee shot. His approach shot left him a slippery, 10-foot, downhill putt from the fringe that found the cup.
He parred hole 3 before his tee shot found the water on the par-3 fourth hole, forcing him to scramble to make double bogey. He hit the greenside bunker on hole 5 but made a great up-and-down for par.
After a par on hole 6, Wolfes piped a drive on the par-5 seventh hole. Facing 240 yards over the water with a back right pin placement, he opted to lay up, hit his approach to 10 feet and drilled the putt for a birdie. He finished the round by scrambling to make par after missing the green on both holes 8 and 9.
Midway through the round, it appeared Wolfes might have a chance to advance as an individual, but Colorado dropped back in the team standings, and Oraee was leading the tournament at the time, six strokes ahead of Wolfes.
“Sagamore was a great test of golf, one of the best we saw all year,” said Collins. “It was very penal to the big misses , and we had too many of those this week. That kept us from gaining momentum and left us scratching and clawing the last two rounds trying to make a move up the board to get into the top-5.”
“Obviously it wasn’t our best outing of the year, and the big numbers on our cards really held us back,” said Director of Golf Larry Mays. “Half the holes on the course had water in play, and we really struggled on those all week. Our ultimate goal is to get through to the NCAA Finals, but I’m proud of the goals we did accomplish. The mantra of our athletic department is Rings and Diplomas – we had three seniors who won rings in two different conferences earn their diplomas, and I’m certainly proud of their accomplishments.”
Wolfes earned Golfer of the Year honors in two different leagues and was a four-time all-conference selection. Koivu took medalist honors at this year’s Sun Belt Championship and was named first-team all-league. Charlie Martin was the Eagles’ top finisher on last season’s Southern Conference championship team and earned first-team all-league honors, and Mierzejewski was a member of five tournament winning teams, including the 2014 Schenkel and the 2015 Sun Belt Championship.
Wolfes completes his illustrious career with his 31st top-20 finish in 46 collegiate tournaments. He tied the school record with a 63 at Turtle Point in the Wendy’s Kiawah Classic in the fall, and won medalist honors four times in his career. His season scoring average of 70.96 this season sets the new school record, and his career scoring average of 72.41 ranks third.
“Our outgoing class of Scott, Matt, Kim and Charlie (Martin) really left their mark on Georgia Southern golf with three NCAA Regional appearances, two conference championships, a conference medalist and the first win at The Schenkel in school history,” said Mays. “They have helped set a high standard for the program, which I know our returners and newcomers next season and in the future will work hard to meet and try to surpass.”
It was Georgia Southern’s third straight NCAA Regional appearance and the sixth in the last seven seasons. Two of the quintet that played in the Sun Belt Championship and the NCAA Regional this weekend, Price and Klasing, return to the team next season. Georgia Southern loses four seniors, including Wolfes, Mierzejewski and Koivu.