PENFIELD, N.Y. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's golf team won its first NCAA Division III National Championship and freshman Alex Wrenn claimed at tie for second place individually on May 13 at the Midvale Country Club in Penfield, N.Y.
CMS competed directly with the defending national champions Methodist in the final round pairings. Methodist went wire-to-wire atop the Division III Bushnell Golfweek Coaches Poll by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) and was a clear favorite for the 2016 title.
In rainy conditions and playing on the difficult Midvale course, the Stags did not record a birdie on the front nine, but under the pressure of needing to maintain a lead, CMS only got stronger as the round wore on. During the final day of the championships, St. Thomas (Minn.) came within five strokes of CMS but then started their second nine with six bogeys in the first two holes and ultimately finished in a tie for fifth, 13 strokes off the lead. Ultimately, CMS won by six strokes over the second place finisher, Huntingdon.
Wrenn recorded his first birdie in the round on the tenth hole and through ten, he was in a tie for first with Evan Cox from Virginia Wesleyan. After a few bogeys on the back nine, Wrenn dropped down on the leaderboard but then finished off the round with three birdies for a tie of first place with Cox and Addison Lambeth from Huntingdon. In the playoff for the individual title, the three played the 535-yard par-5 and Cox came out on top with a birdie while Wrenn and Lambeth tied for second place.
The unranked CMS senior, Kethan Reddy, led the field for the first two days of the championships and finished in 12th place just six strokes behind the leaders. Reddy ended his round with nine pars in the final ten holes for an 81 on the day.
Sophomore Matt Shuman tied his best score on the Midvale course from yesterday with another 76. He tallied three birdies and was just 1-over on the back nine today. Sophomore Jonathan Shaw came in at a tie for 21st with a 79 in the final round including a birdie on 16. Sophomore Johnny Brandt entered the championships ranked No. 85 and then finished in 55th with a 312 total on the week.
The Stags recorded the lowest score in the championships history on Tuesday with a 286 that propelled them into the driver's seat with an eleven stroke lead after the first day. From there, CMS posted a 299 on the second day and still held onto a nine stroke lead. St. Thomas (Minn.) was in second place on Tuesday but by Wednesday, Washington & Lee overtook the Tommies to chase the Stags. Day three saw CMS record their highest round to date at 303 and face new competition. Otterbein posted a 294, boosting them five spots on the leaderboard, but still trailing CMS by seven strokes. In the rain on the fourth day, a 310 (+22) was good enough to hold onto the lead and secure the national championship.
Back in November, head Coach Bim Jollymour noted, "this is a special group of guys and I can tell this is going to be a special year."