Site: Ninety Six, S.C.
Course: The Patriot Golf Course at Grand Harbor (Par 71, 6,921 yards)
Tournament: Big South Championships
HPU Team Standing: 9th of 9 teams (294-295-288-877, +25)
Top HPU Individual: Brandon Einstein, T-23rd (73-75-69-217, +4)
NINETY SIX, S.C. – The High Point University men’s golf team concluded its 2020-21 season with a ninth-place finish at the Big South Championships. The Panthers had their best round of the tournament on the final day on Tuesday (April 20), carding a 288 to finish the event at 25-over.
“My heart goes out to this team,” head coach Brady Gregor said after the championships ended. “Unfortunately, in this sport you can’t choose which week you’re going to have a bad week and ours just happened to fall on the only week that decides our conference standings, and that’s hard because of the body of work these men have had. They have played solid all season long and will finish with the best ranking of any [High Point] team in the Division I era. We also have an individual with a very strong shot of representing us at the NCAA Tournament.”
The individual in question is Brandon Einstein, who had High Point’s best finish at the championships with a score of four-over for a share of 21st place. He had the Panthers’ second round under par of the event on Tuesday with a 69, one behind the score Alec Weary had in round two on Monday. Weary was one stroke behind Einstein at the tournament’s end, finishing in a tie for 28th at +5. Christian Castillo had HPU’s second-best round of the day with an even-par 71 to finish at seven-over for the event in a tie for 31st while Adam Hooker finished with a share of 37th place at +11. Gregor Meyer and Grady Newton were both in action at the five-spot, with Meyer going +8 over the first two rounds and Newton finishing nine-over in the final round.
Einstein had four birdies on the day, tied with Castillo for the most in round three for the Purple and White. Einstein started his day in red numbers with a birdie on the first, followed by another on the par-5 eighth with a bogey in between to make the turn at one-under. He put up two more birdies on the back on holes 14 and 16, with a bogey in between the two on the par-3 15th.
Castillo’s day started the same as Einstein’s as he also carded a birdie on the opening hole. He picked up his second of the front on the par-5 fifth but had a bogey and a double mixed in to head to the back one-over. He played the final nine holes one-under-par with a pair of birdies in his final three holes of the day after a bogey on 13.
Weary and Hooker both finished three-over in the final round, with two birdies apiece. Weary split his across the nines with one on each side. He bogeyed the fourth to start his round before bouncing back with a birdie on five to make the turn even. The back wasn’t as kind as he bogeyed four of his first six before picking up his second birdie of the day on 16. Hooker carded both of his birds on the back, picking them up on holes 10 and 16. Newton only had one birdie on the day and it came on the 16th, giving every Panther golfer a birdie on the par-5 on the day.
Campbell, Radford, and Longwood all finished tied for the top spot in stroke play, with Gardner-Webb picking up the fourth and final spot for the match-play semifinals on Wednesday.
High Point will wait to see if Einstein is selected as an individual for the NCAA Tournament next week, with the regionals scheduled for May 17-19 at sites to be determined.