Virginia's 1-2 punch key in U.S. Collegiate run

Virginia's 1-2 punch key in U.S. Collegiate run

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Virginia's 1-2 punch key in U.S. Collegiate run

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It’s hard to name a better one-two punch in college golf than Virginia senior Denny McCarthy and sophomore Derek Bard.

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The Cavaliers, No. 26 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, finished second on Sunday at the highly competitive U.S. Collegiate Championship. Bard and McCarthy finished first and second on the individual leaderboard to lead the team in Alpharetta, Ga.

Virginia – with a lineup that consisted of one senior, one junior, two sophomores and a freshman – finished one shot behind the Longhorns. Virginia trailed by one shot entering the final round, but matched Texas’ 11-under 273 on Sunday to finish at 20-under 844. Still, Virginia beat eight top-25 teams.

“I personally think Texas is the best team in the country from a talent standpoint,” Virginia head coach Bowen Sargent said, “and even though we may be disappointed right now, we showed that we can compete with them.”

Bard picked up his first collegiate victory thanks in large part to a final-round 8-under 64. He finished the 54-hole event at the Golf Club of Georgia at 15 under.

“I played solid all week,” Bard said. “I felt comfortable with all aspects of my game, especially my mentality. I don’t know what it was exactly, but I felt confident and very decisive with my game at the Golf Club of Georgia.”

With his victory, Bard finishes the fall portion of the season with three top-10 finishes in five events.

McCarthy, whose opening 63 tied a Virginia single-round scoring record, picked up his 19th top-10 finish in 40 events for the Cavaliers.

The 21-year-old, who missed Virginia’s first event of the year (the Northern Intercollegiate) while representing the United States in the World Amateur Team Championship, bounced back from a bit of fatigue and earned his second runner-up finish in as many starts.

Virginia finishes the fall season on a high note, but Sargent doesn’t know how this will affect the team’s play moving forward.

“Hopefully what we take away from this is we build on this experience, and it shows them that we can win a national championship.”

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