One of Alfredo Ruiz’s goals entering this season was to win a tournament.
Tied for the lead through two rounds of the Tar Heel Intercollegiate at UNC Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill, N.C., this weekend, the Coastal Carolina senior did just that Sunday – with a little assist from Hurricane Matthew.
Ruiz and UNC Greensboro’s Jake McGlone were named co-medalists when the final round was canceled because of the effects of the storm. It was Ruiz’s first time as a medalist in his collegiate career.
“I’m extremely proud of Alfredo. He’s been working hard on not only being a great teammate, but he’s been working hard as well on his own game,” Chanticleers interim coach Chad Wilson said. “As a coach, it’s always fun to see that the hard work pays off for someone and that’s the case that we have with Alfredo.”
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The Coastal Carolina senior came one stroke short of winning in the season-opening event, The Invitational at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.
“Winning a tournament was a goal of his this year and he came really close in Kiawah – I think he learned a lot from that experience,” Wilson said. “Now he can check off that box and move on to his next goal.”
Ruiz had five birdies versus one bogey while shooting a first-round 4-under 68 and followed that with a six-birdie, four-bogey 2-under 70 in the second round. Both rounds were played Friday.
“Alfredo always hits the ball really well. He’s hit the ball [well] pretty much his whole career, but the putting is something that he’s really had to work on over the summer,” Wilson said. “And he got a new putter. Pretty much he’s finally getting some putts to fall for him and he’s playing the par-5s outstanding. He was in first or second in par-5 scoring this week, and that’s what you’ve got to do in college golf … you’ve got to attack the par-5s and he’s done a great job of that.”
As a team, the Chanticleers finished ninth (7-over 286-297–583), 16 strokes behind winner UNC Wilmington.
However, Wilson said the team’s score was hurt when Thad Obency II signed an incorrect scorecard.
“We lost six shots just because of that,” Wilson said. “If he doesn’t do that, we finish, I think, sixth.
“… I told the guys I’d rather have that happen now than at conference or at regionals. You learn from things like that. It happens a lot unfortunately.”
The tournament was originally scheduled to be played Saturday and Sunday, but it was moved up to Friday because of Matthew. The hope was to avoid the storm effects Saturday and finish up Sunday, but course conditions didn’t allow for it.
“Unfortunately the golf course just got too much rain,” Wilson said. “There were holes that were underwater and it was unplayable.”
Coastal’s Ryan Carpenter tied for 37th (72-75–147), Luis Ruiz tied for 43rd (74-74–148), Olle Widegren tied for 52nd (72-78–150) and Obency finished with a disqualification after a first-round 72.
The Chants next head to Jonesborough, Tenn., on Friday for the three-day Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate.
“We’re very positive moving forward. We’ve been to this golf course before at ETSU and we’ve had – last year we had mixed results – but Alfredo actually played well there last year,” Wilson said. “So [we’re] looking forward to him continuing that, and we definitely have the guys on the team that can win a golf tournament. I feel very good going up there that we’re going to put three solid rounds together.”