Flagler wins Peach Belt championship
Dahlenberg cards hole-in-one on final day to win individual title
POOLER, Ga. -- Flagler College fired an even-par final-round 288 to capture its first Peach Belt Conference men's golf title at the 2011 PBC Championships at Savannah Quarters Country Club on Tuesday.
The Saints began the day with a slim one-shot lead over host Armstrong Atlantic State University and Georgia College. A two-hour and 17 minute rain delay halted the start of three of the final pairings, but by the time the lead groups reached the turn, Flagler had opened up a double-digit stroke lead. The Saints finished the tournament with an eight-over-par 872, 16 strokes better than surprise runner-up UNC Pembroke, who was the only other school to break 300 on the day with a 297, ending up at 888. Armstrong (890) and Georgia College (892) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, while USC Aiken finished fifth.
The individual race was drama-filled as second-round leader Billy Shida of Georgia College and Flagler's Joel Dahlenburg - playing in the same group - went to the back nine in a head-to-head duel for the individual title. The pivotal hole was the par-3 No. 12, where Dahlenburg recorded his first career hole-in-one, while Shida recorded a double-bogey for a four-stroke swing.
Buoyed by the ace, Dahlenburg went 3-under on the back nine to finish the day with a 69 to win by three strokes against Shida and teammate Chris Bray of the Saints. Shida never recovered from the double bogey on 12, going +5 on the back nine to slip to second, finishing the day with a 75 and wrapping up the tournament with a two-under-par 214 total. Jonathan McCurry (216) of UNC Pembroke and Rourke Van der Spuy (216) of Columbus State each finished tied for fourth to earn All-Tournament honors along with Shida, Bray and Dahlenburg.
The win was also the third in a row for Flagler in the Savannah area. The Saints are the back-to-back champions of the AASU Pirate Invitational in 2010 and 2011 - the second competed at Savannah Quarters in February.
The host Pirates struggled through the first nine, turning at +11 and slipping to fourth in the team standings, but Armstrong rallied in the back nine as both Tyler Erickson and Matt Motes played even-par golf on the back nine to help Armstrong climb back to third. Erickson led the Pirates individually, firing a 74 on Tuesday to finish tied for eighth with a 221 total. Motes also finished with a 74 to tie for 11th individually with a 223 total.
Senior Aaron Elrod shot a final-round 81 to finish in 16th place with a 225 total, while sophomore Jacob Tilton rounded out the Armstrong scoring on the day with an 80 to finish 39th with a 238 total.
Flagler earns an at-large bid into the 2011 NCAA Division II Men's Golf Championships on May 2-4 and the other top teams in the PBC will await word of possible at-large berths to the Championships.