Lethem Paces Eagles as Georgia Southern Finishes Sixth at Schenkel E-Z Go Invitational
It was a continual battle for first place all day between No. 5 Florida, No. 21 Tennessee, No. 24 North Carolina State and eventual champion No. 12 South Carolina. South Carolina and Tennessee were in a two-way tie for first with one group left on the course. George Bryan IV birdied 16 and parred 17 and 18 to secure the first place finish for South Carolina with a third round 4-under 68. Bryan finished second on the individual leader board with a 4-under 212 tally. He trailed the individual medalist, North Carolina State’s Matt Hill, by three strokes. Hill finished the tournament 7-under par (209) with an opening round 71 and final two rounds 69s.
South Carolina captured its first Schenkel team title in 28 years of participation in the tournament with a 1-over 865 tournament total. The Gamecocks carded their lowest round, 286, on the final day en route to the championship.
Georgia Southern got off to a rough start on the front nine, but excelled on the back half to finish in sixth place, one shot behind fifth place Kentucky, with a team total 876 (+12). Pacing Georgia Southern on the final day of competition was Lethem who fired an eagle on hole 8 to erase two bogeys prior. Lethem’s eagle allowed him to finish the front nine even and begin the back nine with a clean slate. The senior posted a sub-par back nine where he launched back-to-back birdies on 13 and 14 to finish 2-under on the final nine holes. The senior recorded his second lowest tournament total of the season with an even-par 216 to put him in a tie for 11th place.
Sophomore Logan Blondell finished tied for 20th with a 2-over 218. Blondell carded 1-under 71s in the first two rounds, but followed with a 4-over 76 final round.
Joe Monte followed three strokes behind Blondell with a 5-over 221 to finish tied for 36th. Monte opened the third round with a double bogey on the first hole. He quickly rebounded with five pars, two birdies and a bogey to close out the front nine 2-over par. Monte followed a par on 10 with a birdie on 11 cutting his ledger to 1-over par. The sophomore then fired off two birdies on his final five holes to give him an impressive comeback 1-under par 71 third round.
Ryan LeFevre shot a 77 on the day to finish tied for 50th with a tournament total 8-over 224. Spencer Fulford carded his lowest round with a 75 third round to close out the team scoring and finish tied for 77th at 3-over 229.
“Overall it was a solid performance. It seemed like we are just a fourth score away each day of having a real special tournament,” said head coach Larry Mays. “You can’t count 75s and 76s in a tournament like this and expect to win.
We want four solid rounds in Augusta and if we can do that, we can be dangerous. I’m extremely proud of the guys for hanging in there after having the rough start to the day that we had. We rebounded from our start and played really well on the back nine.”
Senior Jordan Johnstun, junior Ryan Zabroske and freshman Sean Brannan competed for Georgia Southern on an individual basis. Johnstun finished tied for 32nd with a 220 (+4), while Zabroske carded a weekend total 222 for a 39th place tie. Brannan rounded out play with a 240, placing him 95th.
Georgia Southern finished the tournament with victories over (Golfweek ranking): North Carolina (68), Mississippi (25), Auburn (54), North Florida (79), Virginia (51), Vanderbilt (47), LSU (20), Iowa (48), Georgia State (42), Oklahoma (90), Augusta State (39) and Notre Dame (89).
The Eagles return to action competing in the Augusta State Invitational April 4-5.
- Category: Golf
- Published on Sunday, 22 March 2009 00:24