A good start to the fall portion of the Georgia Southern Men’s Golf season turned great Tuesday afternoon in metro-Atlanta. The Eagles torched a 16-team field, notching a total score of 17-under par and winning by 19 strokes at the Autotrader Collegiate Classic at Berkeley Hills Country Club in Duluth, Ga.
Georgia Southern topped tournament host Georgia State and also ran away from third place Notre Dame after the Eagles had been runners-up to the Fighting Irish at their home tournament two weeks ago in South Bend, Ind. After the Eagles’ first scheduled tournament of the season at Kiawah Island was washed out due to Hurricane Irma, Georgia Southern has posted team showings of fifth, second and now, first.
“We’re very excited about what we were able to do this week,,” GS coach Carter Collins said. “We played well the first day and then dealt with some wind and tougher conditions to get the win. There were some good teams in the field, but that’s not our focus. Our goal is to do our best, and I think we had three good rounds.”
The only thing more impressive than Georgia Southern’s team win was Steven Fisk’s individual performance.
The reigning Sun Belt Conference player of the year tied for individual medalist honors at Notre Dame, but left no doubt in Duluth. Fisk opened with a 66 on Monday as the Eagles quickly shot to the top of the leaderboard. Fisk backed that up with another 66 in his second round of the day and Georgia Southern had a firm grip on the tournament lead heading into Tuesday.
Fisk saved his best for last, opening with a birdie in Tuesday’s final round. He parred the next five holes before recording birdies on the final three holes of the front nine. A fourth consecutive birdie on No. 10, combined with birdies on Nos. 13 and 15 resulted in a 65.
Fisk’s 54-hole score of 19-under won the individual medalist honors by eight strokes over Notre Dame’s Miguel Delgado. Even more impressive, Fisk’s three-round total of 197 set a new record for the event and chopped a full six strokes off of the previous Georgia Southern 54-hole record.
“Obviously, he was really playing well,” Collins said. “His driver and irons were working and he made some big putts to really score well. Those were a special three rounds that Georgia Southern will remember.”
“I knew I was playing well, but I wasn’t thinking too much about my score,” Fisk said. “Not to sound like a cliche, but I was just trying to take it one shot at a time.”
Sophomore Brett Barron was consistent throughout all three rounds. He finally broke par in Tuesday’s final round and his tournament score of 2-over par was good for a tie for seventh amongst all individuals.
Jake Storey and Archer Price shot 67 and 68, respectively, in Monday’s second round to help the Eagles build the commanding lead that they coasted on throughout Tuesday’s final round. Lukkas Alakulppi struggled a bit on Monday, but posted a 75 on Tuesday to contribute to the day’s overall team score.
The Eagles will end the fall portion of their schedule in style Oct. 29-31 as they journey to Hawaii to compete in the Princeville Makai Invitational. A tropical getaway will be a treat for the Eagles, but they intend to keep the momentum going before entering the winter break.
“This will be fun for us, but we’re focused on competing,” Collins said. “We had a chance to play this course last year, so hopefully the familiarity will help us. Another good finish in the standings would be nice, but our goal is to focus on ourselves and how we handle each round.”