Following an up-and-down showing in its first tournament of the season, the Georgia Southern men’s golf team bounced back with a vengeance.
The Eagles stormed through the J.T. Poston Invitational on Monday and Tuesday at the Country Club of Sapphire Valley. Georgia Southern seized an 8-stroke lead through the first round before South Carolina closed the gap during Monday’s second round. The two teams easily pulled away from the rest of the 14-team field on Tuesday and it was the Eagles left standing at the end, shooting a cumulative 47-under par to hold off the Gamecocks by a single stroke.
The win was the Eagles’ second straight at the tournament hosted by Western Carolina and they became the first team to defend its title in event history.
“It was a great team effort,” GS coach Carter Collins said. “All of our guys had low rounds and were consistent over the course of the tournament. That’s what you need to win.”
Ben Carr led the Tuesday charge with a 5-under 66. Hot on his heels were the other three counting GS scores for the day as Brett Barron, Jake Maples and Mason Williams all fired 67. That quartet all finished ninth or better in the overall individual standings, with Williams’ three-round total of -13 good for a tie for second place.
The Eagles led throughout the afternoon, but had to do plenty of scoreboard watching. The top three teams at the end of two rounds are usually grouped together, meaning that most tight battles play out in a sort of head-to-head fashion.
That wasn’t the case Tuesday as Georgia Southern and South Carolina were on opposite sides of the course and didn’t cross paths. That meant that the Eagles had to track their progress via scoreboards that are often running 5-10 minutes behind the real-time action.
“We didn’t treat it too much different than usual,” Collins said. “We’re always trying to focus on playing our best game. But today required even more focus because you’re trying to put up a score while not knowing what the other team is doing.”
All of the Eagles hung tough and are now headed home with their first hardware of the season.
Georgia Southern heads north next week for a tournament hosted by Notre Dame before wrapping up the fall half of their schedule Nov. 1-3 at a tournament being held in the Bahamas.