Best round of spring has UNCG up to fourth at SoCon Championship
FLORENCE, S.C. – The UNCG men's golf team delivered its best round of the spring season on Monday to remain in contention in the 75th Southern Conference Championship, advancing from a sixth-place tie to sole possession of fourth with 18 holes to play.
After Monday's 2-under-par 286, the lowest by any of the 11 teams in the two days of play, the Spartans (581) are six shots back of front-running Chattanooga and only two behind second-place Georgia Southern at the 7,062-yard, par-72 Country Club of South Carolina. UNCG, chasing its first SoCon title, hasn't been closer to the top spot after 36 holes of this event since it trailed by four shots in 2005. The Spartans tied for fourth that year.
"They need to continue to do what they did today," coach Terrance Stewart said. "They have nothing to lose. Just keep having fun."
Monday's Spartan leader was junior Will Almand, whose bogey-free, 3-under 69 tied for the low round by any individual on the day and represented his second-best performance of 2010-11. Almand, designated the team's No. 5 player for the tournament, became the fifth Spartan to break par this spring. His effort was supplemented by a 71 from Robert Hoadley, who gave the Spartans multiple players under par in the same round for the first time since three of them did so in the opening round of the C&F Bank Intercollegiate at William & Mary on March 21.
The collective 2-under-par is the team's best since a 4-under in the second round of the UNCG Bridgestone Collegiate in October and the second-best by a Spartan team in the SoCon tournament. A year ago, the club shot an 8-under 280 in the second round on the same course.
"They have been on the verge of playing really good rounds all spring, and for a number of reasons, it just hasn't happened," Stewart said. "But they have been so close. I'm not surprised (by Monday's play). It's a very mature team. They have learned a lot, and I really expect them to play a very good round tomorrow."
UNCG will begin at 8 a.m. on Tuesday in search of the third conference title in its Division I history. The Spartans won two of the five Big South tournaments they entered (1995 and '96).
75th SOUTHERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
Country Club of South Carolina (Par-72, 7,062 yards)
1. Chattanooga 287-288--575; 2. Georgia Southern 287-292--579; 3. Samford 287-293--580; 4. UNCG 295-286—581; 5. College of Charleston 290-293—583; 6. Wofford 295-289—584; T7. Western Carolina 296-294—590; T7. Elon 297-293—590; 9. Davidson 293-299—592; 10. Appalachian State 302-297—599; 11. Furman 299-302—601.
Top 10: T1. Richard Fountain (Davidson) 68-72—140; T1. Lewis Gruber (Ga Southern) 68-72—140; 3. Casey O'Toole 69-71—140; T4. Logan Blondell (Ga Southern) 72-70—142; T4. Stephan Jaeger (Chattanooga) 70-72—142; T4. Chris Robb (Chattanooga) 71-71—142; T7. Coy Breen (College of Charleston) 70-73—143; T7. Steve Dressel (Elon) 70-73—143; T7. Brent Whitehead (Wofford) 71-72—143; T10. Will Almand (UNCG) 75-69—144; T10. Trey White (Western Carolina) 72-72—144; T10. Chandler Brazeal (Wofford) 75-69—144.
Other UNCG golfers: T13. Kyle Sonday 71-74—145; T13. Andy Knox 73-72—145; T23. Robert Hoadley 76-71—147; T41. Colin Chapman 76-75—151.
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