*HERSHEY, Pa. –* Guilford College’s gallant comeback on the final day of the NCAA Division III Menâ€™s Golf Championships fell one stroke short Friday as Methodist University hung on for its 10th national title at the Hershey Links Course. The Quakers shot the tournament’s low round Friday, a five-under-par 283, while Methodist carded a 293. The teams withstood a one-hour weather delay with the Monarchs clinging to a
two-stroke lead late in the round.
The Quakers started the day in third place among 37 teams, 11 strokes behind the top-ranked Monarchs. Playing with Methodist and second-place Huntingdon College, Guilford had a good start and found itself ahead of Huntingdon and just two strokes behind the Monarchs as the teams made the turn. The Quakersâ€™ *Peter Latimer (Markinch, Scotland)* and *Dusty Roberts (Reidsville, N.C./Rockingham County)* both birdied four of their first nine holes, while senior teammate *Brian Creghan (Radnor, Pa./Conestoga)* had three birdies on the front nine.
“I’m really proud of the guys,” Guilford interim coach *Korky Kemp *said. “They made a ton of birdies. We had a different game plan where we were going to come out aggressive. They played well.”
The Quakers cooled a bit after the turn and Methodist regainedan 11-stroke edge as the day wore on. However, three back-nine birdies by Guilford freshman *Noah Ratner (Asheville, N.C./Asheville)* combined with a bounty of Methodist bogeys brought the Quakers back to within two strokes.
Methodistâ€™s *Alex Weir* was five-over par on the back nine before he birdied the par-five 18th hole. Teammates *Josh Speight* and *Liam Friedman* followed suit with critical birdies on the final hole. Guilfordâ€™s *Roberts* kept the pressure on with a birdie of his own on 17.
As the tension mounted, so did storm clouds. Action was delayed one hour and 40 minutes by a thunderstorm with the top three teams still having three players on the course and Methodist holding a two-shot lead over Guilford. When play resumed, the Monarchs’ *Speight* birdied 18 while the Quakers’ *Roberts* parred the hole to give Methodist a three-stroke lead.
Guilford got the stroke back in the next group, as *Creghan* finished off a birdie put while Methodist received a par from *Trey Howell*.
In the final group, *Schrader* laid up short of the green with his second shot, but his third shot landed in a bunker, and his fourth shot found the rough short of the green. Meanwhile, Guilford’s *Latimer* was on the green in two and had an eagle putt for the win, but his shot went six feet past the hole.
*Schrader* chipped just past the hole and left himself a four-footer for bogey, which would only force a tie if *Latimer* was able to make the birdie putt. However, *Latimer’s* putt was six inches wide of the cup, and his tap-in for par opened the window for *Schrader*, who drilled his putt to give the Monarchs the title.
*Schrader* placed fourth overall at 78-69-68-72-287, two shots in front of * Latimer* (77-72-72-68-289) and Huntingdonâ€™s *Chase Blaich*(77-70-72-70-289).
“We couldn’t have done much more,” Latimer said afterwards. “We left all that we had out there.”
The Quakers matched the school record for low score at a national championship with its round of 283. Methodist, which placed third in the 2009 NCAA Tournament after leading through three rounds, finished with a four-day 1,177. The Monarchs edged the Quakers by one shot in the closest NCAA Division III menâ€™s golf tournament since 2001 when the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire edged Guilford, 1,162-1,163.
Guilford’s second-place finish is the school’s second in 16 NCAA Division III Championship appearances and its fifth runner-up effort at a national tournament. The Quakers placed second at the NAIA National Tournament in 1985, 1986 and 1987. The smallest deficit in those events was six strokes in 1986. Guilford won NCAA titles in 2002 and 2005 and has seven top-10 finishes in its NCAA tournament history.
With three All-America honorees, Guilford matched a school record accomplished six times, most recently in 2006. *Latimer*, who entered the tournament ranked first in the Golfstat.com Division III Head-to-Head rankings, was a first-team All-America honoree by virtue of his fifth-place performance. *Creghan* climbed three spots to finish in 10th place at 73-73-76-71-293, good enough for second team All-America honors. *Roberts*, a sophomore who entered the tournament with a 78.21 stroke average, shot 75-73-76-73-297 in his best effort to share 20th place and garner third-team All-America recognition.
*Ratner* jumped 20 places in the individual standings into42nd with his one-under 71 Friday. One of six members of the Golf Coaches Association of America All-Freshmen Team, he shot 78-80-73-71-302 in his NCAA Tournament debut. Classmate *J.T. Thomas (Raleigh,N.C./Broughton)*rounded out Guilfordâ€™s results in a share of 95th place with an 82-79-74-80-315.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Collegesâ€™ senior *Tain Lee *finished with a two-under-par 70 Friday and claimed the national medalist honor. Playing as an individual, he led from wire-to-wire and shot seven-under 280 for the tournament. *Lee* finished three strokes ahead of the University of LaVerneâ€™s *Mitchell Fedorka*, who shot 67, the dayâ€™s low round, to finish at 74-70-72-67. Centre Collegeâ€™s *Chris Morris* also shot 67 Friday and placed third at 75-70-72-67-284.
* *Guilford played this tournament under the direction of *Kemp*, who took over in April after the sudden passing of longtime coach *Jack Jensen* March 28. *Jensen* coached the Quakersâ€™ golfers for over 33 years and won three national titles in his career. A search for his successor will take place this summer.
“Coach changed our lives,” *Creghan* said. “Today was for him. We gave it all that we had.”
NCAA Division III Men’s Golf Championship
May 11 – May 14, 2010
Round 4 Scores
Par 72, 6837 yards
Fin. Team Scores Total Par
1 Methodist University………. 307 290 287 293 1177 +29
2 Guilford College………….. 303 297 295 283 1178 +30
3 Huntingdon College………… 309 290 290 292 1181 +33
4 St. John’s Univ.(MN)………. 313 296 291 291 1191 +43
5 La Verne, Univ. of………… 317 299 292 289 1197 +49
T6 Oglethorpe Univ…………… 307 304 286 304 1201 +53
T6 Wittenberg Univ…………… 310 306 293 292 1201 +53
8 Texas @ Tyler…………….. 307 309 291 297 1204 +56
T9 Hope College……………… 316 296 298 296 1206 +58
T9 Skidmore College………….. 295 307 304 300 1206 +58
T11 Greensboro College………… 301 308 298 301 1208 +60
T11 Wisconsin – Stout…………. 304 313 301 290 1208 +60