April 29, 2010

By Grant Lucas
Special to NCAA.com

Bridgewater upsets No. 3 Guilford for first ODAC title

A second-round 299 launched Bridgewater College to the top of the leaderboard and a 304 on the final day sealed the first-ever Old Dominion Athletic Conference golf championship for Bridgewater n Cape Charles, Va., on April 20.

"I think we were able to maintain a mental discipline over the final nine holes," head coach Leroy Williams said. "We worked on mental toughness all year and it came through on that last round."

The Eagles' tournament-low 299 was a 13-stroke improvement from the first round and gave Bridgewater a five-shot advantage over No. 3 Guilford College.

Junior Mike Redwood gained the early edge after carding a plus-2 74 on the first day. Although a second-round 76 dropped him to second place, Redwood fired a team-best 71, claiming the individual crown after beating Guilford senior Peter Latimer in a one-hole playoff. Redwood became the first individual winner in Bridgewater history.

Also finishing in the top 10 were sophomores John Phillips and Travis Gahman, who took fifth and sixth place, respectively.

Guilford still has a chance for the national championship, as it may earn one of three at-large bids.

The Eagles have a three-week rest before they head to Hershey, Pa., for the NCAA Division III Championships on May 11.

"Certainly, now we know we can win a big tournament," Williams said. "We know we can play with nationally ranked teams. This gives us confidence to go into the tournament and not be overawed by the situation. Yes, it is a big tournament, but we belong there."

First ASC championship for young UT-Tyler program

The No. 11 University of Texas at Tyler earned its first American Southwest Conference golf title in dominant fashion, defeating the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor by 34 strokes in Horseshoe Bay, Texas, on April 20.

Head coach King Campbell said that confidence may have been a factor in his team's play, as the Patriots were riding a six-match win streak heading into the ASC championship, but there was more to it.

"This is probably the best ball-striking team I've ever had," he said. "I also think this is one of the most intelligent teams, as well. We play smart, we take risks, but we make sure to look at the risk-reward of things."

The Patriots jumped to a 10-shot advantage after recording a tournament-best 289 on the first day. UT-Tyler then ran away with the event, posting back-to-back sub-295 rounds - the only program to card even one.

Senior Brandon Ellis used consecutive rounds of 68 to propel himself to a 13-shot lead after the second day of action, which was followed by a plus-2 73 to seal the individual victory. Ellis' scores earned him the lowest average in the conference, just 0.7 ahead of teammate sophomore Jacob Walsh.

"I've played consistently all spring, but I was waiting to peak at the right time," Ellis said. "All week, I was hitting the ball phenomenally and putting solid. When I was over the ball, I felt like I couldn't make a mistake. I've never been that comfortable over the ball in any tournament."

Freshman Joey Rippel and senior Bobby Ennis rounded out the top five, finishing in third and fifth place, respectively.

The Patriots' top-three golfers in the tournament were named First Team All-ASC.

The next trip for UT-Tyler is Hershey, Pa., on May 11 to compete in the D-III Championships for the second year in a row.

"We have five of not only the best golfers, but five of the best guys," Ellis said. "We all want to work hard, get better and be the best. This mindset and work ethic could take us to the top."
Susquehanna sweeps major awards

As if winning its first Empire 8 Athletic Conference golf championship wasn't enough for Susquehanna University, individual winner senior Mitch Mercer and head coach Don Harnum were named the conference Player and Coach of the Year, respectively.

The Crusaders overcame a four-stroke deficit from Round 1 in September, tallying Round 2-best scores of 302 and 312 to claim the team title in Hummels Wharf, Pa., on April 18.

Mercer, who held an eight-shot lead after the fall portion, carded a 73 on April 17, followed by a Susquehanna season-low 68 on the final day to wrap up his 19-stroke win.

Freshman Pat Wilson earned third-place honors after a 307 performance and was named the Empire 8 Freshman of the Year.

Susquehanna head to Moosic, Pa., on April 25 to play in the Glenmaura National Collegiate Invitational.