Fayetteville St. wins CIAA tournament
Broncos win 26th conference title, including 11th in last 15 years
FORT LEE, Va. -- Like a seasoned group of card players sitting around the same table, Fayetteville State had its reads, its signals -- and its game -- completely down cold.
Through the twisting fairways of Cardinal Golf Course, the Broncos passed each other often, giving each other unofficial updates on where they stood against the other players in their respective groups. Using this kind of links math, the Broncos knew they were in good shape.
"I'd pass my teammates in groups behind me, and I knew I was keeping pace in my group," Jacob Barge said. "I'd signal that I was doing OK, and I was greeted with a lot of smiles and thumbs up."
The math held up.
The class of the CIAA since the start of the season several months ago, Fayetteville State captured its 26th league championship and the 11th CIAA title in the last 15 years after winning the CIAA tournament by six strokes against Virginia State on Friday at Cardinal Golf Course. It is the 16th golf championship under legendary Fayetteville State coach Raymond McDougal.
The Broncos, who led after the first round, finished with four players among the top 11, with Brandon Jobe finishing third alone after a second 72 for a two-day total of even-par 144. Barge was tied for fourth at 1-over after a 72 on Friday while Jedidiah Frazier was seventh at 3-over (72-75-147) and Lincoln Jackson (73-77-150) was tied for 11th.
"This shows just how complete of a team we were this year," Jackson said. "We have five guys who can really post a good score, and that makes it so much easier on everyone else."
Chowan's Cliff Forbes fired the low round of the tournament -- and for his season -- with a 4-under 68 to take medalist honors by two shots against Virginia State's Stephen Genchi, the first-round leader. Genchi carded a 72 on Friday to finish second at 2-under 142, but Forbes, who shot 72 on Thursday, opened his round with birdies on the first three holes.
"I felt like I needed to get off to a good start because I had some shots I had to make up," Forbes said.
He never let up, going as low as 5-under par before a bogey on the 17th hole.
"I got a little nervous coming in," Forbes admitted. "This is the biggest win of my life."
Fayetteville State shot a two-day total of 10-over 586 after a 296 on Friday, clipping defending league champion Virginia State, which entered Friday just four shots back of the Broncos, the closest any CIAA team had been to Fayetteville State entering the final round of a league tournament this season. The Trojans shot 298 on Friday for a 592 total.
Chowan was third at 594 after a 5-under 283, the low team round of the tournament.
The Broncos won both regular season CIAA tournaments with relative ease, winning the Northern Division tournament by a staggering 27 strokes. Virginia State was never a factor in either tournament, but was in the hunt throughout the championship, closing with three shots late in the round.
"There was a lot of pressure," Jobe said. "This was the closest any team had been to us coming into the final day in a CIAA tournament. We knew it would be close at Virginia State's home course."
"Coming down the stretch we knew it was tight," Barge added. "But we knew we just had to play our game."
The Broncos did just that, adding to the long tradition of Fayetteville State golf.
"It's unbelievable," said Barge. "It's not a dream anymore, it's a dream season come true."