Fister

DESTIN, Fla. -- Transylvania will have a chance to make history Friday in the final round of the 2013 NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championships at the Sandestin Golf Resort.

The Pioneers, seeking the school's first national championship, find themselves in the lead after third-round play at the Raven Course, a 6,854-yard par-71 test. Transy will begin play Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET with a two-shot lead ahead of Texas-Tyler.

“We had never gone into a national championship title with the lead in a round,” Transy head coach Brian Lane said. “We wanted to use the NCAA experience our guys have and play like we've been here before, and I think we've proven that.”

The two teams were tied heading into third-round play and exchanged the lead throughout the day. The two distanced themselves from the rest of the field, however. Host Methodist is 11 back of the Pioneers and Illinois Wesleyan is another six strokes behind in fourth place. The rest of the top 10 include Emory, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, La Verne, Wittenberg, Gustavus Adolphus, St. John Fisher and St. John's.

“To go out and to not only battle with two top teams in Methodist and Texas-Tyler, but to take the lead is huge,” Lane said. “But this is only the third quarter, and now we've got to go into the final quarter, the last 18 holes, and play for a national championship.”

Transylvania has never won a team national championship in any sport. Both the men's basketball and men's soccer teams have advanced to the round of eight and last year's men's golf team was the national runner-up.

“This team has had a business like approach since the conference tournament” Lane said. “The guys are not giddy about being in first, they know that we're going to have to come out [Friday] and play well. I have a  tremendous amount of confidence that they will be able to come out and show that poise because they've done it. Last year, we played in the final group and having that experience can only be a plus”

Transy is at 20-over par after a 297 effort on Thursday. The Pioneers' total score is 876. Texas-Tyler had a third-day total of 299 and is at 878. Methodist's total is 887 after shooting 302 on Thursday.

Individually for the Pioneers, sophomore Ben Fister is tied for fourth at 3-over 217. His 1-over round of 72 was marred by a pair of bogeys on the final two holes, which prevented him from being in a tie for second. He is tied with teammate Clay Hinton, who carded a 76 Thursday.

Fister had two birdies on each nine, while Hinton had three birdies on his card.

Jantzen Latham moved from 19th to a tie for 14th with a 3-over-par 74 for a total of 221. Stephen Montgomery was tied for 40th place after a 75 gave him a 227 total. Hunter Frazier recorded an 80 and is at 229.

The individual leader after three rounds is Brad Shigezawa of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. He had a 69 for a 211 total, 3-under par and four clear of Cameron Button of Southwestern and Buddy Hallman of Texas-Tyler.