CONOVER, N.C. – Guilford College saved its best for last to clinch its record 14th Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Men’s Golf Championship Tuesday at the Rock Barn Golf & Spa. The Quakers shot a one-over-par 289, the tournament’s low round, to claim its fourth straight league title, second only to the Quakers’ five titles from 1999-2003 in ODAC history.
Guilford freshman Tanner Gross (Archdale, N.C./Homeschooled) defeated Washington and Lee University rookie Conley Hurst on a one-hole playoff to claim medalist honors and his first college crown. The league’s Rookie of the Year, Gross shot an even-par 72 Tuesday to finish with a 54-hole 222. He is the Quakers’ 10th ODAC Tournament medalist.
The Quakers, ranked sixth in the latest Golf World/Nike Golf Division III Coaches’ Poll and seventh in the Golfstat.com NCAA Ratings, started the day tied with Washington and Lee in the 10-team field. Facing cool and dreary conditions, Guilford took an eight-stroke lead after three holes and never looked back. Dallas Page (Reidsville, N.C./Rockingham County (Averett)) birdied the second, third and eighth holes and made the turn at two-under, as did teammate Drew Thompson, birdied holes two, eight and nine. The Quakers were three-under as a team after nine holes, compared to the Generals’ nine-over total.
Guilford placed three students on the all-tournament team, comprised of the top-six finishers (plus ties) in the 50-man field. Gross shot a 72 Tuesday to catch Hurst, the 36-hole leader, who carded a final-round 73. The pair returned to the 18th hole for a sudden-death playoff where Hurst made a bogey six and Gross a par five.
Page finished with an even-par 72 Tuesday to share third place with teammate Ty Palmer (Kernersville, N.C./Forsyth Country day) and Hampden-Sydney College’s Brian Burt. All three shot 226, three strokes ahead of the Generals’ Cody Solomon and Hampden-Sydney’s Rick O’Connell, the 2014 ODAC Player of the Year, who shared sixth place at 229. Guilford’s Thompson delivered the Quakers’ low round of the tournament Tuesday, a one-under 71, to finish eighth.
The victory clinched coach Corey Maggard’s team the ODAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division Championships May 13-16 at the Grandover Resort & Conference Center in Greensboro. The Quakers, who are co-hosting the tourney with the Greensboro Sports Commission, are making their league-record 19th NCAA Tournament appearance.