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Eagles win the Schenkel

Eagles win the Schenkel

Eagles win the Schenkel

Georgia Southern's Scott Wolfes, righ...


As the rain came down, the temperature dropped and the water collected on the greens at Forest Heights Country Club, the only place there wasn’t really any drama was at the top of the Schenkel Invitational leaderboard.

The Georgia Southern Eagles carded the low round of the day on Sunday to clinch a convincing eight-stroke win for the program’s first victory at its home tournament.

They shot 14-under overall and finished eight strokes ahead of second-place UAB.

“We’re watching some three putts and the rain’s coming down, we’re squeegeeing greens, and it got a little hairy right there at the end, but I’m proud of the boys for pushing through and finishing it off,” GSU coach Larry Mays said. “It’s huge to get our name on the permanent trophy and go down in the record books. They can’t ever take the first one back, so these guys are the first (GSU team) to ever win the Schenkel, and that’s something they’ll take with them the rest of their lives.”

Scott Wolfes shot a 4-under 68 for his best round of the weekend, and finished 7-under to win the individual trophy. Wolfes finished two strokes ahead of UAB’s Martin Rohwer.

“It’s my favorite tournament ever,” Wolfes said. “That’s all I can say.”

Wolfes is quick to point out that it was a team win. The Eagles led throughout Saturday and Sunday and trailed UAB by only a stroke after Friday. Saturday saw seniors Will Evans and Hayden Anderson each cup a hole-in-one to propel GSU up the leaderboard, and everybody started thinking that just maybe, the Eagles were destined to win the whole thing.

“It was wild, for sure,” Wolfes said. “It definitely felt like destiny, but you don’t want to think that, because the game of golf will come up and bite you real quick.”

Only UAB (6-under) and UCF (2-under) finished under par in the tournament, and the Eagles had to pass four top-15 teams -- No. 6 UCF, No. 10 Virginia, No. 14 UAB and No. 15 Texas -- to secure the first Schenkel victory in 35 tries.

Evans and Henry Mabbett each shot 3-under to finish tied for fourth overall in the 90-player event, and Charlie Martin shot 2-under to finish tied for sixth.

Anderson finished 2-over, and the final Eagle in the event, Matt Mierzejewski, finished 10-over.

Georgia Southern was also playing for fallen former teammate Thomas Sharkey, who would have been a senior this season. Sharkey, along with his sister and his father, was murdered by arsonists Scott Snowden and Robert Jennings in 2011 by a fire set in the Sharkey home in Helensburgh, Scotland. The murderers were convicted last summer, according to BBC News.

“He was right there the whole time,” an emotional Mays said about Sharkey. “It was a perfect Scottish finish here on the last nine holes.”

 

Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-4908.

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