CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Georgia Southern University golf team capped its 2009-2010 season with its 19th overall NCAA Championship appearance finishing 30th after Thursday’s final round of stroke play. The Eagles, who had to finish their final holes of the second round this morning after darkness ended Wednesday’s play, will not advance to match play.
The 113th NCAA Men’s Golf Championships, contested on the par 72, 7,395-yard The Honors Course, will crown a team champion on Sunday, June 6 after three rounds of single-elimination match play hosting the top eight teams that qualified through stroke play.
Scott Langley of Illinois was crowned the individual medalist carding a 10-under 206 over the three rounds of stroke play.
The first seven teams moving onto stroke play are Oklahoma State, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Washington, Oregon, Augusta State and Texas Tech. A three-way tie between eighth-place Stanford, Arizona State and San Diego will be broken via a playoff Friday morning beginning at 8 a.m. to determine the eighth team advancing to match play.
“Competing at the National Championship was a great experience for the team,” said head coach Larry Mays. “We didn’t play our best golf, but I also think it was compounded with the tee times we were handed. But it was good to see the team compete on a championship-style course in a well run tournament.”
The Eagles closed the tournament with a score of 905 (297-299-309) on the ever-challenging The Honors Course. Two Eagles concluded their collegiate careers at the championship in seniors Spence Fulford and Ryan Zabroske.
On the course, senior Fulford led the team for the third straight round with his 4-over 76. Fulford carded the only Eagle sub-par round of the tournament on the opening day and tied for 72nd overall (71-74-76-221). He closed his collegiate career recording two top-10 finishes, including a tie for third at the SpringHill Suites Intercollegiate in the fall where he set the competitive course record with a second round 63 at The Country Club of South Carolina. The impressive 63 tied Georgia Southern’s all-time low round as Fulford became only the fourth Eagle in program history to own a 63.
Junior Logan Blondell capped an impressive end to the season following a second-place finish at the NCAA Southeast Regional. At the championship Blondell posted rounds of 73-74-77 scattering eight birdies over 36 holes. Blondell finished tied for 95th with a tournament total 224.
Pacing the Eagles for the entire season, senior Zabroske ended his stellar senior campaign tying for 141st (76-76-80-232). Zabroske, who recorded Southern Conference Player of the Week and All-Conference honors, logged five top-10 finishes and was recently named to the Division I PING East All-Region team. The Eagle finished runner-up in two fall tournaments, the Adams Cup of Newport Collegiate and the Mizuno Savannah Intercollegiate, while setting personal bests with a career-low 67 (twice) and career-low 207 (-9).
Making his initial debut as an Eagle this season, redshirt-freshman Florian Sander (Bregenz, Austria) showed a promising start to his collegiate career. Sander, with rounds of 77-79-76, tied for 141st at the NCAA Championship. The freshman recorded three top-10 finishes his inaugural season with his best finish coming at the John Hayt Invitational where he tied for fifth with a 1-over 217. In just his first collegiate tournament as an Eagle, Sander tied for ninth at the SpringHill Suites Intercollegiate with a 3-under 213.
Statesboro, Ga., native, Matt Deal tied for 152nd with rounds of 79-75-81 (235). Deal, a steady component to the 2009-2010 lineup, posted his best finish at the SoCon Championship, tying for 19th with a 4-over 220. The Eagle carded a tournament low 1-over 217 at the Augusta State Invitational where he also posted a career-low 2-under par 70 second round.
In the 2009-2010 season, Georgia Southern finished within the top-10 in 10 of 14 tournaments. The Eagles defended their crown at the SpringHill Suites Intercollegiate firing a 17-under 847 and finished runner-up at the Adams Cup of Newport Collegiate a week later. At the SoCon Championship in April, GS put together a 1-over 865 to place second, earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Southeast Regional where it battled to finish tied for fourth and advance to the National Championship for the fourth time in 10 years.
“We had an up and down year this season with a win and a couple runner-up finishes. We also had weeks when we didn’t put it all together,” noted Mays. “I’m real proud of this team and their accomplishments. It’s not as easy of a feat to get through regionals now and this team was able to bring us back to the championship.
“We’re fortunate in that we have three of our five guys coming back next year and a great recruiting class coming in. Hopefully our experiences here can lay the ground work for the team next year.”