Site: Florence, S.C.
Course: Country Club of South Carolina (Par 72, 7,062 yards)
Tournament: Raines Development Intercollegiate
HPU Team Standing: 3rd of 10 teams (281-275-290-846, -18)
Top HPU Individual: Brandon Einstein, T-3rd (68-67-74-209, -7)
Next HPU Round: Monday, Feb. 22 — at Pinnacle Bank Intercollegiate (Hilton Head, S.C.)
FLORENCE, S.C. – The High Point University men’s golf team slid one spot to finish in third place after the final round of the Raines Development Intercollegiate in Florence, S.C. on Sunday afternoon (Feb. 7). High Point finished the event 18-under with a team score of 846, marking the lowest 54-hole score HPU has carded in program history.
Two Panthers placed in the top-10 of the event, led by redshirt sophomore Brandon Einstein at seven-under for a share of third place. Freshman Grady Newton finished two strokes behind Einstein at -5, putting him in a tie for seventh place. Einstein’s classmate Drew Weary ended in the top-15, placing tied for 14th at two-under.
“This was the first time we’ve been in contention heading into the final round this year and it’s right where we expect to be,” head coach Brady Gregor said after the tournament. “It was a great week for the guys and we got better every day. Even though we didn’t finish it off and get the win, we grew a lot as a team this week and I’m really excited about the direction this team is headed. We picked up some confidence this week and hopefully the guys believe in themselves. We all have areas we need to work on – I could have coached better out there – and the guys could have done some stuff better as well. We’re looking forward to a quick turnaround and getting back on the road in two-and-a-half weeks. There was some great play from Brandon this week with his third-place finish and also from Grady with his first career finish in the top-10.”
Starting on hole one and as the individual leader, Einstein parred his first three holes before carding a bogey on the fourth. He quickly bounced back with consecutive birdies on holes six and seven to get him to the turn in red numbers at one-under. The back didn’t go as planned for Einstein as he dropped two shots with a double on the par-3 12th and then bogeyed the par-3 16th to finish at two-over on the day and seven-under in the tournament, eight shots off the lead.
Newton shot even par in the final round, one of just two Panthers to shoot par or better on Sunday. He got to red numbers early with a birdie on the par-5 second but then bogeyed three and four to make the turn at +1. A bogey on 12 sent him another stroke behind par but an eagle-3 on 17 got him back to even before the round ended and secure his finish in the top-10, the first top-10 of his career.
Weary had a strong showing in the afternoon yesterday with a 69 and had a solid start to the final round, picking up pars on each of his first nine holes. He picked up another par on 10 and then found red numbers for the first time with a birdie on 11. He stayed under par for two more holes but back-to-back bogeys on 14 and 15 dropped him back to one-over to end his round.
Weary’s older brother Alec Weary had the Panthers’ best round of Sunday and was the only member of the Purple and White under par thanks to a 71 to get him back to even for the tournament. The graduate got off to a hot start with birdies on his first two holes but gave both strokes back with a double on the fifth. He was even at the turn but found his way into the red early on the back thanks to a birdie on 11 and then picked up another on 15. Weary looked poised to end the day at two-under and inside the top-20 but a bogey on 18 ended his round at -1 and in a share for 21st.
Adam Hooker and Ryan McCarthy were both in action for HPU as well and each carded a 76 in Sunday’s final round. Hooker took a double on the first hole and then recorded four bogeys from holes eight to 16 before ending his day on a bit of a high note with back-to-back birdies on his final two holes. Conversely, McCarthy started with a birdie on one and picked up his second on five after a bogey on two to get him to the turn one-under but then went five-over on the back nine to end the tournament.
Middle Tennessee State won the team title by one stroke over Kennesaw State after the Owls came on strong with a 272 (-16) to climb four spots on the leaderboard on Sunday. Kennesaw State did have the medalist in their colors as Connor Coffee took home the individual honors at 15-under but was followed by three players from MTSU, with Connor McKay in second and two tied with Einstein for third.
High Point is off until Feb. 22 when the Panthers return to South Carolina for the Pinnacle Bank Intercollegiate in Hilton Head, S.C., hosted by Francis Marion University on the Arthur Hills Course at Palmetto Hall.