SANDESTIN, Fla. — Junior Steven Fisk fired a 65, and the Georgia Southern men’s golf team combined to shoot 5-under on their final nine holes of stroke play Tuesday to secure a spot in match play at the Sun Belt Championship at Raven Golf Club.
The Eagles (+19) tied UTA for second in stroke play but will be the third seed in match play because of the fifth-score tiebreaker. GS faces UTA in the semifinals tomorrow morning with the first pairing off the first hole at 8:55 a.m. ET.
Coastal Carolina (-9) finished first in stroke play and will take on fourth-place South Alabama (+22) in the other semifinal match. The winners meet in the afternoon for the championship and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
“This is one of the toughest and most resilient teams I have ever been around," GS coach Carter Collins said. "They play better when they get punched in the mouth. It’s almost like seeing the blood makes them play better.”
Jake Storey (-1) fired an even-par 71 today and tied for third on the individual leaderboard, and Fisk (+2) finished tied for ninth. Archer Price shot a 73 today, Luukas Alakulppi carded a 76 and Jacob Bayer posted a 77. Coastal Carolina’s Morgan Deneen (-10) ran away with medalist honors by following yesterday’s 63 with a 67 today.
The Eagles also finished ahead of Georgia State and earn a point in the Southern vs. State Rivalry Series.
Fisk logged eight birdies on the day, including five on the back nine, as he shot 5-under on the final nine holes of the day. He birdied two of his first three holes out of the gate, made birdie on a stretch of four out of five holes on the back and added another on 17 for good measure.
“I can’t say enough about that bounce-back round from Steven today," Collins said. "It shows a lot about his toughness and his character and his resiliency. It was incredible.”
Storey also birdied two of his first three holes and shot 2-under on the two par-5s on the back nine. Price made par on eight holes on the front and shot 1-under on his last five holes of the day with a birdie on 15.
Alakulppi turned in a 1-under 35 on the back nine and shot par or better on eight consecutive holes after making the turn, making birdie at 12 and 14.
A day after the Eagle counters combined to shoot 11-over-par on 17 and 18, GS was even on the final two holes of stroke play today.
“Our focus on the back nine was great today. We talked last night about running through the finish line and not to the finish line and keeping our head down and doing everything we can on every hole. I think we may have peeked up at the leaderboard a little early yesterday because we knew we had a good round going, but today, we maintained our focus to the finish.”
The Eagles now have to battle UT Arlington just the same as the course. The order for the Eagles will be Price, Storey, Bayer, Alakulppi and Fisk, and the first pairing tees off the first hole at 8:55 a.m. ET.
“We have some good match-play qualities in our team, and it’s all about being yourself," Collins said. "You may take a few more risks, depending on the flow of the match, but our focus will be on playing good golf and if we take care of that and play to the best of our ability, I think we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”