LaGrange, Ga. - The N.C. Wesleyan men's golf team overcame an 11-stroke deficit in Saturday's final round to post a 2-stroke win and capture the program's first USA South Championship in 45 years on Saturday at the par-72 Highland Country Club in LaGrange! The Bishops carded a team round of 293 to overtake both Methodist University and Huntington College down the stretch, while junior Grady Anderson posted a final round 73 to finish the tourney at 2-under and earn medalist honors.
Thursday's opening round saw the Bishops turn in a 294 team score, which placed them five strokes off the Monarchs' lead in second place. Anderson's 68 (-4) led the 45-man field, while freshman Juan de Giacomi's 72 (E) placed him in the top-10 heading to day two.
Friday's second round later saw Methodist, ranked 3rd nationally, extend its lead to 11 strokes over the Bishops. With a day two team round of 297, the Hawks of Huntingdon College jumped NCWC in the team standings and entered round three just four strokes back. Individually, Anderson's day two 73 left him at 3-under for the tourney and clinging to a 2-stroke lead over Greensboro's Scott Campbell.
On Saturday, the Bishops got a total team effort to erase the deficit, led by de Giacomi's low round of 69 (-3). The freshman's day three push left him tied for 2nd-place overall with a three-day total of 216 -- just two strokes behind teammate Anderson, who's three-day 214 garnered top individual honors. Anderson and de Giacomi, in fact, posted the only two sub-70 round of the event. Sophomore Mariano Silvestri also came through with a tourney-best 73 on the final day to finish at 226 (+16), which tied for 16th overall. Sophomore Luke Thornton became the third Bishop to save his best for last with an individual-best 78 that completed Wesleyan's round. Senior David White carded rounds of 79, 83, and 80 to round out the Bishops' scorers.
Methodist finished two strokes off Wesleyan's pace with a three-day team total of 894, while Huntingdon finished third at 896.
The tournament win is Wesleyan's third of the season and marks the first conference championship since the Battling Bishops won four consecutive titles from 1970 to 1973. In his eighth year at the helm of the program, head coach Gregg Ripke also becomes the only coach other than the late Don Scalf to lead his team to the title.
The Bishops, who are currently ranked 17th-nationally, will now begin preparations for NCAA play. Please continue to check www.ncwcsports.com for more information as it becomes available.