Site: Verona, Wis.
Course: University Ridge Golf Course (Par 72, 7,259 yards)
Tournament: 2021 Badger Invitational
HPU Team Standing: 7th of 14 teams (298-291-285–874, +10)
Top HPU Individual: Stuart Fuller (75-71-68–214, -2), T-6th
Next HPU Round: Monday, October 11 — at Carolina Collegiate (Spartanburg, S.C.)
VERONA, Wis. – Behind a four-under 68 from graduate student Stuart Fuller for a top-five finish, the High Point University men’s golf team had the best round of the field in the final round of the 2021 Badger Invitational on Tuesday (Sept. 28) with a 285 (-3).
Tuesday’s round moved the Panthers up to seventh place in the tournament and was six strokes better than the second round and a 13-shot improvement from round one. High Point’s finishing round was also one of the best single rounds of the entire field, coming in tied for the sixth-lowest team score in one round out of the 42 that were played. HPU’s 285 was better than any single round from all seven programs the Panthers finished above and was better than rounds from Power-5 programs Wisconsin and Iowa State.
Fuller was the driving force behind High Point’s push as he carded six birdies on the way to a 68 that got him to -2 in the tournament and into a share of fifth place. Freshman Charlie Barr was right behind him on Tuesday with a 69 with four birdies for the first round in the 60s in his collegiate career and a tie for 34th place. Christian Castillo picked up three birds in his round of 73 on Tuesday to finish the event two-over in a tie for 26th. Avery Price finished in a tie for 52nd at +9 after a 77 in the final round while Adam Hooker took home a share of 61st place at 12-over after carding a 75 in round three.
“I’m super excited for Stuart locking up his best career finish at any school he’s been at and that’s exactly why we brought him in,” head coach Brady Gregor said of the graduate transfer’s top-five finish. “As a team, the guys stepped up big today. Any time you’re the lowest team round of the day you’re playing well. I think this showed them they can play with anyone out there and if we just show up on par-5s we are possibly talking about a win right now.
Fuller gave back one stroke on the par-3s on Tuesday but still finished atop the field at three-under on the short holes for the tournament. He was one-under after four holes thanks to a pair of birds sandwiched around a bogey and got to two-under on the day and even in the event three holes later with a birdie on seven. He dropped a shot after a bogey on the par-5 11th but ended the tournament strong with three more birdies in his final six holes for the 68.
“Today was a really fun round in Wisconsin and I’m happy to be heading back to High Point after finishing with a strong round,” Fuller had to say. “I really tried to stay steady all day. After making the turn at -2 I just wanted to keep it rolling on the back nine, which fortunately I was able to do. I’m very happy that we were able to shoot the low round of the day as a team too. Now we’re looking forward to getting to work in Spartanburg in a couple of weeks.”
Barr started the round off with a birdie on the first hole and added another on the par-3 eighth to make the turn two-under. He carded his third bird of the day on 11 before putting the only bogey on his card at the par-3 12th. There was one more birdie in store for Barr as he found red numbers on 15, as did three of his teammates, to finish three-under in the final round with a 69 and four-over in the tournament.
Castillo was even after the turn after carding a single bogey and a birdie but got up to +3 on the day after putting another bogey and a double on the card on the back. He responded well in the final four holes with a pair of birdies, including on 15 like Fuller and Barr, to end the day one-over and the tournament two-over.
Price also made the turn even after a pair of bogeys and birdies but was four-over after the first three holes of the back after two more bogeys and a double. He picked up one more birdie on 17 that was sandwiched around a pair of bogeys to finish with a 77. Hooker carded both of his birdies on the front but was two-over heading to the back after a double and two bogeys. He started the final nine with eight straight pars before ending the tournament with a bogey on 18 for a final-round 75.
Illinois State and Sam Houston State maintained their positions at first and second in the team standings while Cincinnati climbed to third after being the only other team multiple strokes under par on Tuesday. The Bearcats did have the individual medalist after Sam Jean climbed three spots to -7 with a 69 in the final round.
The Panthers are in action in the Carolinas for the first time this year in two weeks when HPU heads to Spartanburg for the Carolinas Classic hosted by Wofford on Oct. 11-12.