The Oglethorpe men's golf team came out on fire Sunday at the SAA Men's Golf Championship in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, torching the Old Fort Golf Course with a 12-under-par 276 on the day and a 17-under-par 846 over the course of the weekend, cruising to their second SAA championship and their 12th overall conference title. The Stormy Petrels outshot second-place Berry by a whopping 14 strokes on Sunday, outpacing them by 22 strokes over the course of the 54-hole event.
In addition, Oglethorpe freshman Kyle Shealy secured the school's second SAA individual championship and its 11th individual conference title, shooting an impressive 5-under-par 67 on Sunday, completing the 3-day event at 7-under 209.
That put him two strokes ahead of freshman teammate Patrick Mills, who finished second after carding 3-under 69 on Sunday and 5-under 211 for the tournament. It marks the sixth time that Oglethorpe golfers have finished both first and second in a conference championship, and the second time at the SAA Championship.
Both Shealy and Mills earned additional accolades, as well. They shard the SAA Newcomer of the Year award and also both took spots on the All-SAA First Team.
The Petrels had four golfers in all earn top 10 finishes, marking the third time overall, and second year in a row, they've accomplished that feat at the SAA Championship. Senior David Kleckner and freshman Jacob Arnett finished in a 3-way tie for seventh, both finishing their 3-day event at 1-under 215, six strokes behind Shealy. Kleckner finished with his best round of the tournament, posting a 3-under 69 to move eight spots up the leaderboard into the top 10. Arnett continued his solid tournament with a 1-under 71 on the day.
Both also earned spots on All-SAA teams, as Kleckner took All-SAA First Team honors and Arnett earned a spot on the All-SAA Second Team.
In addition, Oglethorpe head coach Jim Owen earned SAA Coach of the Year honors for the fourth consecutive year. It was his 14th overall conference coach of the year award. He oversaw the team this weekend as they raced to a school record in par-72 scoring. The team's 276 over the course of the weekend bested the program's previous mark by four strokes.
Freshman Jake Thomas made it four Petrels in the top 25 as he completed his 54-hole tournament at 10-over 226 after a 7-over 79 on Sunday. Sophomore Colyn Petty rounded out the Oglethorpe scorecard with a 5-over 77 on the day and a 16-over 232 on the weekend, putting him in a tie for 35th.
"I couldn't be more proud of this group," said Owen. "They really put everything together toward the latter half of this weekend. We started rolling about halfway through yesterday and we really got our legs under us, hitting a lot of greens in regulation. That was one of our biggest focuses on the weekend, and we were able to really play well in that area and in par 5 scoring, where we finished the weekend 20 strokes under par over the three days. When you can do that, you really put your opponents behind the 8-ball, and that's what we did this weekend."
"I'm very proud of the fact that we put four guys in the top seven of this tournament, as well," Owen continued. "We had the Co-Newcomers of the Year, three All-SAA First Team honorees, and four total All-SAA members. Kyle, Patrick, David and Jacob were all very good this weekend and are deserving of the honors they received."
"We used 10 different guys in the main lineup over the course of this year, and used eight different lineups," said Owen. "It hasn't always been easy, but this might be the most satisfied I've ever been with a team performance at the end of a season. This group of guys has really stepped up."
With the SAA title, the Petrels earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championship May 10 through 13 in the Rochester, New York, area. This will be the Petrels' 17th NCAA Championship appearance overall and their 16th in a row.
"I may be more proud of the 16 consecutive trips to the NCAA Championship than I am of our 12 conference titles and even our two national championships," Owen concluded. "In a flawed selection system with very few at-large spots, that is very difficult to do."
Second Round Recap
The Oglethorpe men's golf team used an impressive 6-under-par 282 on Saturday at the SAA Men's Golf Championship in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to jump into first place after 36 holes at Old Fort Golf Course, eight strokes ahead of second-place Berry. The Stormy Petrels sit at 5-under 571 over the course of the two days.
The Petrels carded 21 birdies on the day Saturday, including a team-high eight from freshman Jacob Arnett, and saw three team members end the day in the top 10, as well as four in the top 20.
The team was led by freshmen Kyle Shealy and Patrick Mills, both of whom finished the day as part of a 3-way tie for second. Both carded 36-hole totals of 2-under 142 to end the day a single stroke behind Joey Mayo of Rhodes, the individual leader. Mills used a 3-under 69 on Saturday to move seven spots up the leaderboard and vault into the second-place tie, while Shealy came in at 1-over 73 on the day, dropping a single spot from his first-place tie at the end of Day 1.
Arnett used his eight birdies to vault into the top 10, moving 14 spots up the leaderboard into a tie for seventh. He carded a 4-under 68 on Saturday, the best round of the weekend by a Petrel so far. He sits at even-par 144 for the event, just three strokes back of the lead.
Senior David Kleckner sits in 15th place after an even-par 72 on Saturday. That put him 2-over 146 for the weekend, just five strokes back of the lead. Freshman Jake Thomas doubled up on his solid round on Friday, posting a 2-over 74 on Saturday to come in at 3-over 147 for the tournament. That puts him in a 16th-place tie, just six strokes back.
Sophomore Colyn Petty rounded out the Oglethorpe scorecard, putting up a 7-over 79 on the day to come in at 11-over 155 and finishing the day in a tie for 35th.
The third-ranked Petrels sit eight strokes ahead of No. 5 Berry and nine ahead of No. 10 Rhodes, who currently sits in third place. No. 23 Centre stands 11 back of the Petrels in fourth, while Birmingham-Southern holds fifth place, 18 strokes behind.
The Petrels will go for their second SAA championship and 12th overall conference title on Sunday, when they take to Old Fort Golf Course one more time. Oglethorpe's round will get started at 10 a.m. Eastern on Sunday, with Shealy the last to tee off at 10:45 a.m.
First Round Recap
The Oglethorpe men's golf team got their stay at the SAA Men's Golf Championship off to a solid start Friday in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, as they played the Old Fort Golf Course in 1-over-par 289 to put themselves in second place after 18 holes, just two strokes back of leaders Berry.
In addition to the good team performance from the third-ranked Stormy Petrels, freshman Kyle Shealy fired a 3-under-par 69 on the same day he was named one of 30 semifinalists for the Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award, placing himself in a 3-way tie for the lead with Joel Maire of Berry and Andrew Horn of Centre. Those three sat two strokes up on another 3-way tie for fourth.
Shealy was not the only Petrel in the top 10, as freshmen Patrick Mills and Jake Thomas both carded 1-over 73 to join a 5-way tie for ninth, just four strokes back of the lead. Meanwhile, senior David Kleckner came in just a stroke back of that, ending the day tied for 14th with a 2-over 74, putting him just five back of the lead. Kleckner and Mills were both a part of the Nicklaus Award semifinalist list, as well.
All six Oglethorpe competitors placed in the top 25, putting them all in the top half of the field. Freshman Jacob Arnett and sophomore Colyn Petty joined a tie for 24th with scores of 4-over 76. That put them seven back of Shealy and the leaders.
The end of the round saw the top of the leaderboard stacked, as one would expect from a tournament featuring four of the top 25 teams in the most recent coaches poll. No. 5 Berry and No. 3 Oglethorpe held down the top two spots, respectively, while No. 10 Rhodes and No. 23 Centre sat in a third-place tie, just a stroke back of the Petrels and three behind Berry. Birmingham-Southern rounded out the top five, coming in 10 back of the Vikings.
The Petrels will be back on the course at the same time Saturday morning, as they look to solidify their position in Round 2 of the 54-hole tournament. Petty will be the first Petrel to tee off at 10 a.m. Eastern, while Shealy will round out the Oglethorpe golfers at 10:45 a.m.