GREENSBORO, N.C. – Methodist University’s Jeff Wells shot a four-under-par 66 and helped the Monarchs claim their eighth O’Briant-Jensen Memorial Golf Tournament Tuesday. The Monarchs won the 15-team tourney at the par-70, 6,551-yard Sedgefield Country Club-Pete Dye Course in northwest Greensboro.
Under warm and sunny skies, Methodist shot the tourney’s lone sub-300 team score (296) and outdistanced fellow first-round leader Guilford by 14 strokes. The Monarchs shot 308-296-604 for their second straight tournament victory of the fall. The Quakers had Tuesday’s second-lowest score and finished second in the tournament for the third straight season at 308-310-618. Washington and Lee University, the Quakers’ Old Dominion Athletic Conference rivals, came home third at 310-312-622. Greensboro College shot Tuesdays’ third-lowest score (311) and climbed to into a fourth-place tie with Berry College (313-316) at 329.
Wells, a senior from California, captured his second college medalist honor thanks to a final round that featured six birdies. He played both the front-nine holes and the back-nine holes at two-under to finish the 36-hole tournament at 77-66-143. Wells becomes the seventh Monarch to claim medalist honors at the O’Briant-Jensen Memorial, the first since Mike Wesko in 2012. His 66 is the tourney’s lowest score since Guilford College’s Noah Ratner ’13 shot 65 on the way to winning the 2011 title.
While Wells went extremely low Tuesday, the bulk of the Monarchs had scores consistently in the mid 70s. Craig Decato shot 76 Tuesday to finish in a share of seventh place at 74-76-150. Mason Stutler trimmed two strokes off his opening round and shot 77 for a 36-hole 156, four better than Andrew Lepage, Methodist’s fourth scorer. Lepage shot a two on the par-four seventh hole, one of four eagles in the tournament, and shared 36th place at 83-77-160.
Guilford’s Drew Thompson carded his second straight 76 and placed 10th in the 96-man field at 152. Travis Tolbert shot 77 and placed 14th in his first tournament of the fall with a 78-77-155. Rookie teammate Harrison Frye shot 78 Tuesday and finished in a share for 14th place at 77-78-155. Tanner Gross was seven-over par after nine holes, but settled down to shoot two-over down the stretch and finished with a 79 for a 36-hole 156th that placed 18th.
First-round leader Andrew Winters of Wake Forest University’s ‘B’ team stumbled to an 80 after carding Monday’s low round (70). He was one of four Demon Deacons who placed among the 96-man field’s top seven. Wake’s Tanner Owen was runner up with a 73-74-147, a shot ahead of Hampden-Sydney College’s Brian Burt (75-73-148), teammate Woody Woodward (79-69-148), and Greensboro College’s Tristan Lough (76-72-148).
The 36-hole tournament is named for former Guilford golf coach Jack Jensen and boosters Tom and Bettie O’Briant. The event has been held annually since 1978 when it was named the Guilford Invitational. This year’s event featured four teams ranked in the Golf World/Nike Golf Division III Coaches’ Poll, including third-ranked Methodist and 10th-ranked Guilford.
Coach Justin Tereshko’s Quakers close out the fall season this weekend at the Hummingbird Intercollegiate in Cashiers, N.C.