April 9, 2010

Adam Geigerman
Special to NCAA.com

Buccaneers Pillage Competition

The No. 1 ranked Barry University Men's Golf team spent April 5-6 proving that there's no place like home. The Bucs hosted the Carrabbas Italian Grill Invitational at their home course, Normandy Shores Golf Club in Miami, Fla. against a 14-team field that was brandishing seven of the NCAA's top-25, according to the latest Golf World/NIKE Golf Division II Coaches Poll.

"The field is once again very strong; we have teams from all over the country," said Barry head coach Jimmy Stobs. "We're going to have to play very well to win."

The highly acclaimed field featured No. 6 Nova Southeastern, No. 8 Lynn, No. 9 Central Missouri, No. 14 West Florida, No. 17 Flagler, and No. 22 Valdosta State as visiting competitors against the winners of 13 first-place coaches' votes, Barry.

There are only 16 first-place votes, and the Bucs captured 13 of them. That's essentially an 81 percent approval rating, and Barry deserves it. Out of their eight tournaments this spring, the Bucs have finished no lower than eighth, boasting a runner-up tally at the Coyote Classic on Mar. 1-2 and a third-place finish at the Matlock Invitational on Feb. 15-16.

The first-place finish at the par-71 Normandy Shores Golf Club gave the Bucs their first tournament win, and just in time as the top team in the land looks to now go on and capture the Sunshine State Conference Championship on April 19-20.

The Buccaneer squad won their second-straight Buccaneer Invitational by 14 strokes over runner-up Lynn University thanks to the play of the tournament's individual medalist, Daniel Stapff. Stapff clinched his victory by one stroke as he fired a tournament total of four-under par (67-74-68). His four-under ranked just ahead of St. Mary's Jeff Rein (-3) and Brevard Community College's Spencer Baldwin (-2).

Stapff's stellar performance alone was simply not enough to secure the team victory - he needed the complements of his fellow Buccaneers, and he got them. All five Bucs in play posted top-30 tournament finals, including Chris Carlin and Carlos Velez's 215's, good enough for eighth-place honors. Victor Billskroog took the 12th position with his 216 while Roberto Cacho finished in 26th-place with a total of 220 strokes.

Lynn, the No. 8 team in DII Men's Golf, completed the Carrabbas Invitational as the runner up team, jumping up two spots after their first-round fourth-place posting. The Fighting Knights looked to cement their position in the SSC playing alongside conference opponents Tampa, No.1 Barry, No. 6 Nova Southeastern, Florida Tech and Saint Leo. The Knights claimed two top-10 finishes, guided by the even-par (213) carding of Steven Brames for fifth. Marcus Williams took the sixth spot with his 214 total score.

One of the only teams to lay claim to a No. 1 vote in the coaches poll, Missouri Central, tied for fourth for the tournament. The Mules 26-over par score bested the No. 6 ranked Sharks by two strokes, as Nova left Miami with a tied for seventh finish.

Abilene Christian Snags The KickingBird

Abilene Christian took complete control of Central Oklahoma's KickingBird Classic at the KickingBird Golf Club in Edmond, Okla. on April 5-6. The par-70 course stretches across 6, 722 yard of the Oklahoma prairie land and plays host to the UCO Bronchos, who slid into third place with their 15-over par tournament total.

The Wildcats took first place decisively with their six-stroke pacing of the tournament's runner-up, Cameron University. The squad from Abilene, a small private Christian school in central Texas, was ranked in the top-25 earlier in 2010, but have fallen off the list. They have still been in the minds of their peers though, receiving 50 votes - the most by a school not in the top-25. Their victory may be the final surge needed to replace them inside the top-25 bubble.

The Wildcats chief navigator for the tournament was junior Cyril Bouniol. He fired a 3-under par tournament 207, locking himself into the runner-up position, only two-strokes behind tournament medalist, Jason Timmis from Cameron. The 'Cats illustrated their team depth in the tournament championship as they placed four golfers inside the top-16. Tyler Sheppard (+2), Alex Carpenter (+6) and Adam Carpenter (+7) finished fifth, tied for 12 and tied for 16, respectively. Kyle Dickerson rounded out the Wildcats' finishers with his 21-over par, good for a tied for 74th finish.

Meanwhile, No. 18 St. Edward's charged from seventh to fourth on the strength of the magnificent play of their quintuple-threat of Matthew Hatcher, Collin Mayer, Santiago Quintero, Mitch Cahill, and Matt Smith. The fivesome of Hilltopper golfers used solid team play to improve into the fourth position. Hatcher led the five with his tied for seventh-place finish, while Mayer Quintero and Cahill placed tied for16th, 20th and 26th respectively with Smith barely staying inside the top-30 as he took a tie for 29th.

The Hilltoppers are aiming to finish on top in the Heartland Conference at the HLC tournament on April 19, while the Wildcats look forward to re-entering the top-25 through more victorious play. They take on the Lone Star Conference at the LSC tournament in Thackerville, Okla. on April 18.

The Jewell Shines Bright

The NCAA Division II Midwest Region Tournament hosted an arsenal of mighty Men's Golf programs, in the form of The Jewell Tournament. The luster of collegiate golf shined bright at the Cherry Blossom Golf Club in Georgetown, Ky. on April 2-3. The 24-team field showcased programs ranging from the No. 13 University of Indianapolis, No. 18 Ferris State, No. 25 Wayne State all the way to the last-place finishing Northern Michigan University, who fired a 77-over par for the contest.

The Greyhounds took the crown at The Jewell, finishing as the first-place team with a tournament total of 14-under par. A tremendous score of -14 is impressive in its own, but when compared to a field of 23 other schools, including two of the top-25 and many others that received top-25 votes, that only came as close at three-over.
The Greyhounds out-lapped their opponents by 17 strokes.

They were led by the top-five trifecta of Seth Fair, Blair Webb and Brad Abel. Fair claimed the individual medalist honors with a tournament total of 136 that was good for an eight-under par. Webb and Abel were only separated by one stroke at 143 and 144 for the two-round contest. The 'Hounds placed two others in the top-15 with Kyle Miller and Aaron Monson at tied for seventh, and 11th, respectively.

The Greyhounds will host the Great Lakes Regional tournament on April 11-12.

The Jewell turned into a dogfight, featuring the Greyhounds against the No. 18 Bulldogs, with the obvious victory by the 'hounds. The Ferris State team came up short, landing in the runner-up position with a total team score of 579. They were led by the subpar tournament play by Eric Lilleboe (-4), and followed up by Craig Burrows and Kurt Valley as they both tied in the eleventh position with stroke totals of 146.

The No. 25 ranked Wayne State Men's Golf squad swallowed a third-place finish, verifying the Coaches Poll validity, as the three ranked teams in the tournament finished in the top-three positions. The Warriors' Joe Juszczyk was the individual runner-up, earning himself the GLIAC Player of the Week honors as he blasted a five-under 139 tournament score.