Crouch wins medalist honors; Florida Southern No. 1 seed for match play
HERSHEY, Pa. -- Florida Southern saved its best golf for Wednesday's final round of stroke play at the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championships on the East Course at the Hershey Country Club as the Moccasins fired a final-round best score of 4-under 280 to finish first overall out of 20 teams in stroke play.
With its first-place finish in stroke play, the Moccasins earned the No. 1 seed in match play, which will begin on Thursday to determine the team national champion. Following the completion of stroke play, the top eight teams will be seeded for match play. In match play, each teams’ players will be paired off to face off for the best 18-hole score. One point will be awarded to the winner of each individual match and the first team to three points wins. Ties will be broken by overall team score.
FSC's 4-under-par score of 280 as a team on Wednesday was the best score for any round in the tournament for any team and that allowed the Mocs to make up 15 shots on second-round leader Barry, which shot a 20-over-par 304 on Wednesday to finish in second place overall with an 876 for 54 holes. Defending DII champion Nova Southeastern, which was in second place after Tuesday and was five shots in front of the Mocs, fired an 11-over-par 295 on Thursday to fall into third place as they shot 877 for 54 holes. FSC finished shooting an 867 for 54 holes.
While the Mocs finished first as a team to earn the No. 1 seed in match play, junior Tim Crouch became the seventh Moccasin golfer to win an individual national title as he defeated USC Aiken's Matt Akins and Western Washington's Jake Webb in a one-hole playoff to take home medalist honors. In Wednesday's round, Crouch shot a 2-under-par 69 to finish with a 54 hole total of 211. He entered Wednesday's action sitting in a tie for sixth, but recorded three birdies and had just one bogey on his scorecard to join an exclusive list of national champion golfers at Florida Southern.
In addition to Crouch, the other Mocs who have won individual national champions are Tom Gleeton (1979), Tom Patri (1981), Lee Janzen (1986), Matt Saglio (1999), Jeff Klauk (2000) and Steve Sokol (2001). Jude Eustaquio tied for first at the 2008 national championships, but lost in a one-hole playoff to USC Aiken's Jeff Goff.
Along with FSC, Barry and Nova Southeastern, the other teams that advance to Thursday's match play are Lynn, which shot a 297 on Wednesday to finish with an 888 for 54 holes to tie for fourth with USC Aiken, which fired final-round score of 298 on Wednesday to also finish with an 888 for 54 holes. Cal State-Monterey Bay, which won the national title in 2011, finished in sixth as it shot a 299 on Wednesday and finished with an 893 for 54 holes, while Missouri-St. Louis and Western Washington each tied for seventh place. UMSL fired a final-round score of 297 to push its 54 hole total to 898 and WWU, which teed off in the morning session, shot a 294 in the final round to earn a spot in match play.
In Wednesday's final round, the Mocs had its four counters towards its team score shoot either par or better. Joining Crouch under par was freshman Austin Schultz, who fired a final round score of 69, while senior Case Gard and junior Shane Convery each shot even-par 71s. The fifth golfer for the Mocs on Wednesday was senior Peter Creighton. He fired a 4-over-par 75.
Along with Crouch, Gard also finished in the top 10 as his 71 in Wednesday's final round pushed his three-day, 54 hole total to a 3-over 216. In Wednesday's round, Gard recorded two birdies, two bogeys and 14 pars on his scorecard. It was the second time in the tournament that Gard recorded a score of par or better as he shot a 2-under-par 69 in Monday's first round.
Thanks to his 2-under-par 69 on Wednesday, Schultz made a huge climb up the leaderboard as he entered action standing in 47th after two rounds, but his final round 69 pushed his 54 hole total to an 8-over-par 221 to finish in a five-way tie for 19th place. On Wednesday, Schultz recorded four birdies and two bogeys, both of which were on the front nine as he played the back nine at 2-under-par 33.
Convery's final round score of 71 allowed him to also jump 31 spots up the leaderboard as he entered Wednesday's play sitting in a tie for 64th, but his score of 71 pushed his 54 hole total to a 12-over par 225, which was good for a tie for 33rd place. Convery, who shot an 8-over 79 in Tuesday's second round, had just one birdie, one bogey and 16 pars on his scorecard Wednesday.
The Mocs will return to the course on Thursday when they begin the match play format of the championships. FSC will open match-play against No. 8 seeded Western Washington, which finished stroke play in a tie with Missouri-St. Louis for seventh place at +46 (292-312-294=898). Both teams' individually seeded golfers will battle against each other through 18 holes with the winning team advancing on to the semifinals on Thursday afternoon.