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Tide cruises to a title
Georgia Southern's Lewis Gruber tees off at the ninth during the second round of the Schenkel Open at Forest Heights Country Club. Alabama set a new tournament record for lowest score in winning the event. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff


Alabama closed the 33rd annual Schenkel Invitational the same way they started, by breaking a Schenkel record. The Crimson Tide shot 817 (-47) for the tournament, breaking Wake Forest’s previous record of 825 (-39), which had stood since 1986. Alabama ran the table, leading the field from day one.

The Crimson Tide team saw just one player shoot one round over par for the entire tournament. With the win, the Schenkel Invitational title remains in the state of Alabama, as the Crimson Tide ended Auburn’s quest for a third straight Schenkel Championship. The title is the second Schenkel victory for Alabama.

Virginia finished the tournament in second (-25), followed by Auburn and Florida, who tied for third at -17. UAB placed fifth (-9), Ole Miss finished sixth (-6), North Florida placed seventh (-2) and South Carolina took eighth finishing even for the tournament. Kentucky finished ninth (+6), and Vanderbilt moved up 4 spots to finish tenth (+11). Georgia Southern moved up two spots to finish eleventh (+14), followed by Notre Dame (+18), Minnesota (+20) and N.C. State (+21).

Ben Kohles of Virginia won the Schenkel Invitational individual honors, shooting 198 (-18) for the weekend. The -18 set the University of Virginia 54-hole tournament scoring record, and the University scoring record in relations to par for a 54-hole tournament.

Blayne Barber of Auburn placed second, shooting 201 (-15) for the tournament. Alabama placed four players in the top six, with Justin Thomas and Cory Whitsett tying for third (-12), and Hunter Hamrick and Bobby Wyatt tying for fifth (-10).

The Eagles moved up two spots on Sunday, after playing their best round of the tournament. "The story of the week is that we didn’t make many putts," said Head Coach Larry Mays. "We missed some shots that we don’t normally miss, which cost us a few shots. We played solid today, had everyone in the ball game. Everyone was in the low 70s today. Which in a normal tournament wouldn’t be too bad, but scores were great this week and we swung a lot of putts right by the hole and that kind of hurt us. Now we just have to regroup and get ready for next week."

Blake Olson and Hayden Anderson led the way for Georgia Southern, as both players tied for 37th shooting 219 (+3). Scott Wolfes tied for 48th (+5), Lewis Gruber tied for 54th (+6), and Zach Hartman tied for 68th (+9) to close out the scoring for the Eagles.

Playing individually, Will Evans tied for 27th shooting 216, even for the tournament. Matt Mierzejewski tied for 74th (+11), and Charlie Martin placed 81st (+28).

The Eagles will next play in the Gary Koch Invitational, April 7-8, before heading to Charleston, S.C. for the SoCon Conference tournament.