April 8, 2010

By Grant Lucas
Special to NCAA.com

Hawks Hoist Third Spring Title

Led by senior Jay Unis' first-place 150, No. 2 Huntingdon College cruised to a victory at the Spring Reeder Cup in Lookout Mountain, Ga., on April 6.

The Hawks placed three golfers in the top five during their 39-stroke win, including sophomore Mack Duke, who finished one shot behind Unis. Senior Cody Causey rounded out the top shooters with a fourth-place 153.

Unis set the tone early in the tournament, firing an invitational-low 73 in the opening round. Duke was nipping at Unis' heels, however, after carding a plus-4 74.

Although LaGrange College senior Bo Tiller recorded a school-best 74 in the second round, Unis and Duke each posted a 77 to hold on for the top two spots.

Huntingdon returns to the links on April 16 when it participates in the Fred Kravetz Invitational in Columbia, S.C.

No. 12 Titans Take Spring Invitational

An 18-stroke improvement in the second round propelled No. 12 Illinois Wesleyan University to a first-place finish at the Illinois Wesleyan Invitational in Normal, Ill., on April 3.

"It's a huge confidence builder because of the depth and quality of the field that we played against," head coach Jim Ott said. "I think you learn more from winning a tournament than losing, and our guys will get a huge confidence boost the rest of the way after winning this one."

Senior Doug Keller earned his first top-five placement of the season when he posted a 152, including a six-stroke improvement on the final day to finish third in the event.

Senior Matt Wennmaker and junior Ryan Dorner also tallied top-10 performances with scores of 153 and 154, respectively.

One of the factors that played into the Titans' win was each golfer's ability to cut down his first-round score. Freshman Stefan Johnson recorded the largest improvement after carding a second-round 74 - seven strokes better than his first-day score. Keller and Dorner each lowered their scores by six strokes on the final day.

"A big part of our improvement was the weather," Ott said. "During the second round, winds calmed down some, but we were also much better prepared mentally to play in adverse conditions. Guys accepted that there was nothing they could do about the weather and just went out and played golf."

Rhodes College sophomore Shay Womack took first-place honors at the invitational with a plus-3 147. Womak posted a tournament-best 72 in the opening round to get the early lead and held off a late push by Nebraska Wesleyan University senior Nate Jaeger to win the event.

The Titans will travel to Decatur, Ill., for the Big Blue Classic on April 9.

Generals split with D-I Dukes

Washington & Lee University split two matches with Division I James Madison University in the Buck Leslie Challenge in Lexington, Va., on April 5.

The event was composed of stroke and match play portions, and each program showcased its golfers in both.

The Generals edged out the Dukes in stroke play, holding on to a three-stroke victory. General junior Tim Gavrich and Duke sophomore Mike Smith couldn't pull away from each other, as each finished with a 71 to tie for first place.

Washington & Lee senior Robert Womble claimed the second spot following a plus-1 72 performance, while teammate sophomore Wilson Anthony wrapped up a third-place finish after shooting a 73.

JMU dominated match play, winning 7-1, but each matchup proved more competitive than the previous.

After three consecutive wins by JMU, Anthony defeated JMU sophomore Chris Wellde 2 and 1. The Dukes then won the final four pairings, with the largest margin of victory being 8 and 6.

The Generals will prepare for the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Championship in Cape Charles, Va., on April 18.

Wesley Holds On For Mid-Atlantic Championship

With two 307 rounds, Wesley College not only leapt to the top of the leaderboard, but it also held off a late rally by Susquehanna University to win the Mid-Atlantic Region Invitational in Hershey, Pa., on April 5.

Wesley trailed McDaniel College by six strokes entering the final round, but the Wolverines took advantage of a Green Terror 13-stroke collapse on the second day to take hold of the lead.

Susquehanna, which was two shots behind Wesley, also used the opportunity to climb the leaderboard. The Crusaders, however, fell one stroke shy of the Wolverines, settling for a second-place finish. McDaniel ended the invitational in a tie for third.

Bobby Ehrhardt's third-place 151 performance earned him the Capital Athletic Conference's Golfer of the Week award. His second-round 74 launched him seven places following a 77 on the opening day.

Wesley's next event is the Franklin & Marshall Spring Invitational in Lancaster, Pa., on April 12.