April 15, 2010

By Grant Lucas
Special to NCAA.com

Greensboro Upsets No. 1 Methodist

In a tournament that featured eight top-25 programs, including No. 1 Methodist University, No. 5 Greensboro College finished atop the leaderboard at the Emory Spring Invitational in Stone Mountain, Ga., on April 13.

The Pride finished with an overall 602 in the event, four shots ahead of the second-place Monarchs, but it was Greensboro's first round that set the tone for the tournament.

On that day, Greensboro posted an invitational-low 303 behind sophomore Ben Nihart, who led the Pride with a 73, putting him in second place after the first round.

It was junior Brock Elder who paced the Greensboro squad on the final day, carding a tournament second-best 72, as the Pride shot a 299 to hold off a Methodist team that knocked eight strokes off its first-round score.

Nihart and Elder finished fifth and sixth in the tournament, respectively, while No. 3 Guilford College senior Peter Lattimer and No. 25 Centre College junior Chris Morris tied for first place following plus-4 144 performances. Morris then beat Lattimer in a one-hole playoff to take the individual title.

Greensboro will participate in the USA South Athletic Conference Championships in Mebane, N.C., on April 16.

Tigers Swing Back Into D-III Action

In their first Division III match of the spring, the No. 18 Wittenberg University Tigers showed little rust. The Tigers topped a six-team field at the Katman Klassic in Danville, Ind., on April 11 after firing a 592.

"It was nice to get back on the winning track," head coach Jeff Roope said. "I think one of the most gratifying parts of the program is that we've got five guys who, on any day, can shoot at or under par."

Wittenberg established an early lead when it recorded a 295 in the first round, four strokes ahead of DePauw University.

Sophomore Ben Smith shot a team- and career-low 71 that put him in second place after the first round. Smith would finish third with a 147.

Freshman Craig Osterbrock stole the spotlight on the final day, however, when he posted a career- and school second-best 68 that propelled him to a second-place finish.

"He played just as well on Day 1," Roope said. "He was hitting just as many greens and just about as many fairways. He just couldn't get the ball to drop."

It was DePauw freshman Nick Reardon that earned first-place honors - his first of the spring - after recording a minus-4 140.

The Tigers return to action on April 17 when they compete in the North Coast Athletic Conference Championship Series in Springfield, Ohio.

"I think there's going to be a boost in confidence heading into this tournament," Roope said. "But we're not taking anything for granted. We're starting from scratch again."

Whittle Leads Whitworth to NWC Spring Classic Win

Behind junior Cameron Whittle's minus-1 143, Whitworth University wrapped up a first-place finish at the Northwest Conference Spring Classic in Moses Lake, Wash., on April 11.

The Pirates carded a 592 in the event, finishing 10 strokes ahead of the No. 15 Linfield College Wildcats.

Whittle paced Whitworth's first-round tear with a spring-low 69, as the Pirates recorded a 293 that gave them a seven-shot edge over the University of Puget Sound. Whittle, however, sat one stroke behind Linfield senior Tyler Nelson, who fired a 68 - the second-best score for Linfield in 2009-10. Nelson would finish the tournament in third place following a second-round 74.

"[Whittle] has been playing well all spring," head coach Warren Friedrichs said. "It's not unusual to see him under par in practices. It was great to see him do it at a tournament like this. This win wasn't out of the blue. He's capable of it."

Whitworth remained consistent on the final day with a 299, as freshman Jared Descoteaux, junior Ryan Young and Whittle posted rounds of 74 to seal the Pirate victory.

The Pirates head to Kennewick, Wash., on April 17 to face Whitman College before the NWC Championship Tournament on April 24.

Friedrichs said this win boosts the team's confidence not only for the next match, but also the NWC Championship, which the Pirates have dueled for against Linfield for some time.

"It's been about a five-year battle," he said. "We won three in a row and they won two, but it's been fun. We're going to work on the short game and course strategy because these next courses have hazards that could cost you some strokes."