University of South Carolina-Aiken continued its grip of dominance on the golf world, capturing the program’s third consecutive NCAA Division II Men’s Championship May 19 at the Cobb Course at the Resort at Glade Springs.
The top-ranked Pacers turned in the wire-to-wire victory by holding off a final-round charge by fellow Peach Belt Conference foe Columbus State. In the end, USCA saved its best for last, shooting a final round even-par 280, finishing 12 strokes in front of the Cougars.
“They (the team) worked hard, they believed in themselves, and worked towards this the whole way, so it doesn’t surprise me that they did win,” said Pacers’ coach Michael Carlisle. “I’m just very pleased and very happy for them because they did put in just a tremendous effort this year and it paid off.”
The Pacers become only the second team in the 44-year history of Division II golf to win three consecutive NCAA Championships, joining Florida Southern, which accomplished the feat from 1998-2000.
USCA won 10 of 13 tournaments this year and 23 of its last 28 dating to 2003-04.
Carlisle said his team’s talent comes from many of the players who fall through the Division I “cracks.”
“There are a lot of good teams in Division II golf,” he said. “Division II golf is the best-kept secret in college sports, I think.”
Leading the way for USCA was defending individual champion Dane Burkhardt, who finished one shot behind medalist Jamie Amoretti of St. Mary’s University of San Antonio. Amoretti shot even-par 280.
– Staff and wire reports