HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. - The 22nd-ranked Georgia Southwestern golf team made a run at top squads during Wednesday's final round, moving as close as two shots within a birth in the NCAA National Championships, before finishing in 10th place at the 20-team NCAA Division II South/Southeast Regional. All-Peach Belt Conference First Team honoree Nate Gahman led the Hurricanes throughout the three-day, three-round event and earned a trip to the national tournament as an individual after carding a 3-over par 219 total.
Gahman, a senior from Leesburg, Ga., finished eighth out of 108-players at the 54-hole event but it took two extra holes to determine if his collegiate career would continue. Gahman tied Adam Hedges of Belmont Abbey College and Daniel Claytor from Barton College for the top score from a player not on a team advancing to the national tournament. With only two individual invites available and three players tied, a playoff followed. All three golfers shot par on the first playoff hole, but Gahman and Hedges birdied the second playoff hole to punch their tickets to the NCAA Championships, May 20–22 in Hershey, Pa.
The top-ranked program in Division II, Nova Southeastern won the team title by 16 strokes with a 9-under 855. The top seven teams in the regional qualified for nationals. No. 3 USC Aiken edged No. 19 Barton by one stroke with a 27-over 891 for the final spot, 12 shots ahead of the Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes played tremendous golf over the opening nine holes of Wednesday's final round, draining 12 birdies and eventually pulling within two shots of the coveted seventh team slot on the leaderboard. Over the first two rounds of the tournament at the par-72, 6,928-yard El Campeon golf course at Mission Inn Resort & Club GSW had combined for 14 birdies.
Andrew Ritchot, the Peach Belt Conference Golfer of the Week on April 4, moved up 40 slots in the individual standings after firing a tournament-low 68 (4-under par) for GSW in the final round. Ritchot shot a bogey-free, 4-under through his first nine holes on Wednesday before matching a pair of birdies and bogeys on the back nine. Ritchot finished tied for 17th with a three-day total of 221 and matched five other golfers for best performance on the Par 5s, playing the holes 6-under par.
All-PBC First Team selection J.P. Griffin tied for 62nd after carding a 77 in Round 3. Matthew Whittaker tied for 72nd overall for GSW, a stroke back of Griffin, with a final score of 232. Anders Olsson finished with a 252 total.
Ben Taylor edged out teammate Ricardo Celia from Nova Southeastern for the regional's individual title with a 6-under 210.
2013 NCAA DIVISION II SOUTH/SOUTHEAST REGIONAL - TEAM SCORES
|Rd 1||Rd 2||Rd 3||Total|
|(1) Nova Southeastern||287||284||284
|(2) Barry University
|(9) Columbus State||298||298
|(T4) Florida Southern
|(T4) Lynn University
|(16) West Florida
|(3) USC Aiken
|(15) Georgia College
|(22) Georgia Southwestern
|(7) North Alabama
|(21) Rollins College
|(14) Armstrong Atlantic
| Eckerd College
|(RV) Florida Tech
|(RV) Valdosta State
|(RV) Mount Olive College
|(RV) Lincoln Memorial||314
|( ) - NCAA Division II ranking in latest Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches Poll with RV = received votes|
|Place||Rd 1||Rd 2||Rd 3||Total|