GREENSBORO, N.C. – Schreiner University led from start to finish to win its first NCAA Division III Men’s Golf Championship Friday at the Grandover Resort and Conference Center. The Mountaineers, of Kerrville, Texas, shot 305 in Friday’s fourth and final round to defeat Oglethorpe University, 1,185-1,190, and claim the school’s first national crown of any kind as a four-year school.
The University of Redlands’ Bobby Holden shot two-under-par 70, his fourth straight sub-par round, to finish at 279, nine shots better than Schreiner’s Cheyne Kendall. Holden had one double bogey over 72 holes and is Redlands’ first national medalist since 1984 when Bob Osbourne won the Bulldogs’ first individual title.
The teams finished Thursday’s suspended third round first thing Friday morning on Grandover’s par-72, 7,210-yard East Course. The 81 golfers started the fourth and final round at 10:00 a.m. in cool temperatures under sunny skies.
“Our school has never done anything remotely close to this,” said Schreiner’s ninth-year head coach Ron Macosko. He praised Kendall, who shot even-par 288 for the tournament. “Cheyne once again showed he is a tremendously unique player. He’s very different than anybody I’ve ever had before.
“Jimmy Keener really did some amazing things. He’s had some really great tournaments in his career, but he’s also had times when he’s gotten away from it a little bit. This week he showed both the talent, and more importantly, he showed uncommon maturity and discipline under pressure.”
Kendall and Keener, who placed third with a two-over 290, helped the Mountaineers to their fourth win in six spring events. Schreiner entered this week’s 41-team tournament ranked 16th in the latest Golfstat.com Division III Relative Rankings.
After completing the suspended third round earlier in the day, Schreiner held off Oglethorpe, the 2009 and 2012 Division III champions. The Stormy Petrels drew even with Schreiner on the back nine after starting the round three strokes back. However, Oglethorpe shot 16-over over the final nine holes while Schreiner shot 14 over.
“We were pleased with everything we did,” said Oglethorpe coach Jim Owen. “We got every ounce of golf out of this group all year long. We couldn’t give anything else.
“The pin locations were very, very difficult with a lot of short sides. They were able to get the ball up and down and we weren’t able to get the ball up and down.”
Holden helped the top-ranked Bulldogs to the round’s low score (299) and their best national finish since a runner-up effort in 2008.
“I was shooting for 10-under, if I shot three-under today” the Simi Valley, Calif., junior said. “Second place was five under, and I figured five under wasn’t out there, so just shoot for 10 under. I got to the last hole. I was pretty nervous. I had a feeling when my coach started walking with me down the fairway. I played it pretty conservative and made a par and found out afterwards.”
Ten-time national champion Methodist University finished fourth at 1,197, the Monarchs’ 27th top-five finish in the last 28 national tournaments. Wittenberg University placed fifth at 1,203.
Guilford College and the Greensboro Sports Commission served as co-hosts of the 40th annual NCAA Division III Tournament, which was held at Grandover for the second time in four years. Grandover will also host the championships in 2015 and 2018.
Notes: Holden won the Golf Coaches’ Association of America’s (GCAA) Arnold Palmer Award as the individual winner of the annual Division III championship. Tanner Gross, of tournament co-host Guilford College, claimed the GCAA’s Phil Mickelson Award, presented annually to Division III’s top freshman golfer.