April 19, 2010

By Adam Geigerman
Special to NCAA.com

Bobcats Claw To Win PBC Championship

The azaleas were in full bloom as three of the nation's 25 best men's golf programs duked it out on the manicured greens and rolling fairways of the Mountain Course in Pine Mountain, Ga. at the Peach Belt Conference Championship action.

The Peach Belt has featured high-stakes competition all spring long, in great thanks to No. 2 GCSU's quest for the NCAA D-II Championship, as they have been in the two hole for months, only behind Barry.

The PBC features consistent contenders such as the suddenly stellar, but unranked AASU golf squad, amongst the other ranked PBC titan - No. 7 Lander.

The three rounds of championship golf kicked off under the most benign conditions at the 7,057 yard, par- 72 Mountain Course, an annual stop for the PGA Tour during the '90s. The Pirates sailed into an immediate single-stroke lead, in front of the always dangerous Bobcats, following the pace set by Parker Gordon's sub-par rounds on the 36-hole day.

Gordon, a junior from Augusta, Ga. slid into a first-place tie following day one of competition with a 3-under 141, before imploding in the final round. His 7-over, 79 final round disintegrated his lead, placing him in fourth for the tournament. The other four Pirates that were navigating the highly competitive field were freshmen Tyler Erickson and PBC Freshman of the Year Jacob Tilton (9-over, 225 for both), Second Team All-PBC golfer Matthew Motes (15-over 231) and junior Ridge Purcell (+14, 230). The Pirates are searching for an at-large bid into the NCAA Southeast Regional as they took home fourth-place honors with a team total of 894, good for 30-over par.

The Pirates' drop-off in the championship round left the door wide open for GCSU and its PBC Player of the year, Fransisco Bide. Bide carded himself a 9-over score for the tournament, finishing out in a three-way tie for 13th with the two Pirate freshman. The 'Cats were fueled by the lights-out stroke play of Niclas Johansson (E), Joe Young (+5), and Billy Shida (+7); they each took home top-10 tournament honors, finishing second, sixth and seventh respectively. Matthew Yontz rounded out the scoring for the GCSU squad, taking a tie for 36th with a 16-over par tournament.

Their come-from-behind victory at the PBC Championship cements their selection into the NCAA Southeast Regionals, where they will face the top-ranked golf squad in the land in a classic No. 1 verses No. 2 match-up.

The 11-team field showcased the No. 7 Lander and No. 14 Flagler nationally ranked programs, as they concluded their regular seasons with seventh and ninth place finishes, respectively, at the PBC Championship. They will be waiting in the same boat as the Pirates for the opportunity to compete at the NCAA Southeast Regional, and then possibly, for the NCAA DII National Championship.

Stanislaus Extends Hospitality To Hometown Warriors

The central Californian countryside set up a beautiful environment for the Cal State-Stanislaus home tournament at the Turlock Golf and Country Club in Turlock, Calif., just miles inland from the San Francisco Bay Area. The short 6, 641 yard-long course hoisted up its hometown Warriors to victory in par-72 action. The mighty 17-team field featured the five strongest West Coast teams, all of which were armed with a top-25 status, including the No. 4 ranked men from Chico State. The No. 10 ranked Warriors tied for first with their fellow Californians, CSU-Bernardino, with 7-strokes over par (871).

The Warriors were led by the tournament's fourth place finisher, Brandon Taylor with his 2-under 214. Taylor was 16-strokes off the lead, set by Bernardino's Gene Webster, Jr.'s 198 tournament total. The Warriors placed four of their five players in the top-50 of the 88-player competition. Teddy Schrier (+2) finished behind Taylor in a tie for ninth, while Trevor Blair (+4) and Jonathan Cockerill (+5) took ties for 14th and 19th respectively. The solid and consistent play of the Warrior Golf team earned them a three-round total of 871, reaping all the benefits of home-course advantage.

The remaining powerhouse squads in Turlock included the smoking-hot No. 4 Wildcats and their 8-tournament streak of top-3 finishes. That all came to a sudden halt as the 'Cats ended the competition in fourth place (877).
They were paced by the hot-when-it-matters play of Lucas Delgado (78-75-68), good for a tie for the ninth position.
While the No. 22 ranked CSU-Monterrey Bay golfers took home some very respectable fifth-place honors with their 17-over finish. They were guided by the play of Dylan Jackson and his tournament score; it was identical to the tournament total of Delgado. No. 20 Sonoma State clung to their sixth place round up while No. 16 Western Washington concluded play barley within the top-10, with a 10th- position resting place.

The regular season is over for the West Coast golf programs, some of the most elite in the nation, and now they look to move into their respective conference championships.

The Chase For The Golfstat Cup

Golf is all about the cup. The goal of the game is to knock the ball rattling around in the cup. The PGA tour is focused on the season long chase for the FedEx Cup, and college golf is about the Golfstat Cup.

It is such a prestigious award, the first ever Golfstat Cup was taken by none other than Tiger Woods in 1996, an eerie similarity to the inaugural FedEx cup in 2007. The award honors the most consistently successful college men's golfer at the conclusion of every season, allowing any NAIA, NCAA DI, DII or DII, and Junior College competitor the opportunity to win. None the less, there has never been a winner from any division or association outside of the NCAA's Division I.

Division II golfers are proving tough competition for the more elite DI guys. Eric Lilleboe, a senior from formerly ranked Ferris State sits in the 21-position with his 71.29 scoring average, only 90 points away from the overall leader, Wichita State's Dustin Garza. Brett Munson is sitting two spots behind Lilleboe, as he represents the No. 5 North Alabama Lions. They have the best two chances to take the cup as a history making effort, as the first DII winner. The next closest DII competitor is Florida Southern's Matt Staunch, but he is essentially out of the running, sitting in 50th place.