One of its best rounds of the season wasn’t enough to get the Coastal Carolina men’s golf team into its fifth NCAA Championship in program history.
The Chanticleers shot their third best score of the season with a 7-under-par 281 in Wednesday’s final round of the NCAA Kissimmee Regional at the par-72, 7,154-yard Watson Course at Reunion Resort in Kissimmee, Fla. But they were not able to move up the leaderboard and remained in 10th place, finishing with a 5-under 859.
Junior Luis Ruiz and senior Morgan Deneen, the Sun Belt Conference champion, each shot a 4-under 68s with five birdies, one bogey and 13 pars apiece. Sophomore States Fort posted a 72 and senior Thadd Obecny II shot 73.
Senior Andrew Roy, who was recruited onto the team this season – along with Deneen – from the school’s PGA Golf Management Program, was added to the lineup for the final round, birdied his final hole to shoot a 3-over 75 despite a double bogey.
Coastal led the 14-team field with 178 pars over three days – four better than next closest teams Vanderbilt and South Florida.
Florida won the regional by 12 shots and the Gators, host team Central Florida, North Carolina, Vanderbilt and Kent State will advance to the NCAA Championship by virtue of their top five finish. George Cunningham of Arizona will also advance as the top individual not on one of the top five teams.
Ruiz jumped 20 spots in the standings Wednesday and finished in a tie for 14th with a 54-hole total of 4-under 212 (74-70-68). It is his fifth top 20 finish of the season and he finishes with a team-high 15 rounds of par or better.
Deneen also climbed 20 places in the final round and tied for 26th with a 2-under 214 (75-71-68). Deneen finished his improbable season with 14 rounds of par or better, including six rounds in the 60s.
Fort tied for 32nd at 1-under 215 (72-71-72) and Obecny tied for 58th at 5-over 221 (72-76-73) to end his time at CCU with a career scoring average of 73.90, which is 10th best in school history.
CCU, the 2018 Sun Belt champion, finished the season with 15 rounds of par or better, which ranks as the second-best total in school history while the team’s scoring average of 289.81 is the third-best in school history.
The regional was Coastal’s 14th and first since 2013.
Playing in his first South Carolina Senior Championship, Rich Weston of Pawleys Island was clearly the best player in the field this week.
Weston crushed the competition for a nine-shot win with rounds of 64 and 66 for a 14-under 130 on the 6,341-yard Patriot Golf Club in Ninety Six. The event was shortened from 54 to 36 holes because of thunderstorms Tuesday.
The 60th S.C. Senior operated by the S.C. Golf Association featured 89 players age 55 and older.
Stan Sill of Spartanburg and Tobin Turner of Greenville tied for second, and Jim Cocca of Myrtle Beach, owner of the Coccadott’s Cake Shop, tied for 19th at 6-over 150.
Weston, 59, a real estate agent for Pawleys Island Realty and member at The Reserve Club, began his second round with a three-shot lead over Walter Todd of Laurens and Sill, the 2017 SCGA Lefthanders Champion, and opened with four birdies on the first five holes before adding three birdies on the back nine.
“It was a little bit of a surprise for me,” Weston said. “I’ve been playing well, probably the best I’ve ever played in my life because there’s no pressure. The course played very short for me because I hit the ball longer than most people my age.”
For the second consecutive year, the Myrtle Beach High boys golf team finished second in the state in Class AAAA.
The Seahawks finished second by 10 strokes to Lancaster with a 34-over 610 over two rounds with consecutive 305s at the General Hackler Course at Coastal Carolina, while Lancaster closed with a final-round 296 after taking a one-stroke lead into the final round.
The Seahawks were attempting to win their fourth state championship, with titles in 1981, 1992 and 2002, and has now finished second in the state championship tournament five times.
A year after winning the AAAA title last year with a 14-under 130 that set a state championship record across all classifications, Myrtle Beach’s Holden Grigg finished fourth individually at 3-over 147, three strokes behind medalist Brandon Masters of Wren.
North Myrtle Beach’s Matthew Griego and Chandler Casey tied for fifth at 148, and Myrtle Beach’s Doc Jarman tied for eighth at 149.