2004: College - This time, South Carolina-Aiken sets pace
The University of South Carolina-Aiken emerged from a bunched field and rainy conditions May 15 to earn its first national championship.
USCA started the final round of the NCAA Division II Men’s Championship at Victoria Hills Golf Club one shot ahead of Barry University of Miami Shores, Fla., and two up on Chico (Calif.) State, and shot a final round-best 298 for a nine-stroke victory over Chico State. Barry finished in third place, 10 shots back. USC-Aiken finished the 72 holes at 39-over-par 1,191.
“We were very fortunate today,” said Pacers coach Michael Carlisle. “You could play the same situation tomorrow and another team would win. There are a lot of good, quality teams in this tournament, and to be able to win this tournament against such good teams just makes it all that much better.”
Prior to this year, the Pacers had finished second three times – 1995, ’96 and ’99 – all to Florida Southern College.
“We feel like we probably should have won it two or three times before this, but this is a hard goal to achieve,” said Carlisle, whose Pacers have made it to the finals 11 times.
Scott Brown tied for fourth at 7-over 295 to lead the Pacers, and Dane Burkhart and Clint Smith tied for sixth at 8-over 296. James McGhee tied for 44th at 308 and Bryan Sangid tied for 62nd at 312.
Chico State’s J.J. Jakovac shot a final-round 73 to capture his second national championship. Jakovac, who finished at 1-under 287, also won the individual title in 2002.
Jakovac, who won four times this year, finished six shots ahead of Courtney Faircloth of Barton College of Wilson, N.C., and Ryan Thornberry of Cal State-Stanislaus.
Jakovac, who earned the Nicklaus Award as the Division II Player of the Year, is the third Division II player to win two national championships, joining Jeff Leonard of the University of Tampa (1987, ’88) and Briny Baird of Valdosta State (1994, ’95).
West Florida’s Andrea Signor was awarded the Phil Mickelson Award, presented to the outstanding Division II freshman.
Joining Jakovac as first-team All-Americans were Faircloth, Luke Antonelli of St. Mary’s (Texas), Nick Mason of Hawaii-Hilo, St. Martin’s Shane Prante, Brett Swedberg of St. Cloud State, Thornberry and Armstrong Atlantic State’s Thomas Whittaker.