Wake Forest cruises to Shoal Creek title; NCAA champ Braden Thornberry wins again

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Wake Forest cruises to Shoal Creek title; NCAA champ Braden Thornberry wins again

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Wake Forest cruises to Shoal Creek title; NCAA champ Braden Thornberry wins again

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The Demon Deacons set a high bar at the Rod Myers Invitational, but they topped it in Alabama.

Wake Forest closed out a dominant victory Tuesday at the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate, firing a second straight 6-under 282 to post at 15 under and 13 clear of the field. The team opened its season with a seven-shot victory at the Rod Myers, but the follow-up was nearly double that margin.

Notre Dame began the round at Shoal Creek (Ala.) Country Club four shots back of the Demon Deacons but dropped to sixth place at 5 over after a 10-over 298 over the final 18. In came Liberty, which closed in 1-over 289 to place a distant second at 2 under.

Wake Forest actually began its previous two campaigns with a Rod Myers win, but this is the first time since 2002-03 that the Demon Deacons have opened the season with back-to-back victories.

“We still have a lot of work to do but it has been a wonderful start to the year,” Head Coach Jerry Haas said in a release. “Now we have to get ready to go to Oregon to compete against a great field. There will be some cold, rainy weather, so we need to be prepared.”

Ole Miss placed fourth at Shoal Creek at even par, but its star player continued to dominate. Braden Thornberry, the reigning NCAA champion and winner of the Haskins Award presented by Stifel, earned the individual title by a single shot at 9 under after rounds of 71, 66 and 70.

The victory, Thornberry’s first in 2017-18, made him the Rebels’ all-time solo wins leader, as Thornberry captured the eighth title of his career. The junior had previously been tied at seven with Dave Peege.

The reigning Haskins winner did it with a late push, too, birdieing his final two holes to edge out Wake Forest’s Paul McBride. Thornberry was the sole Ole Miss player to finish in the top 10, but two others found themselves in the top 25 – Josh Seiple (T-11, 1 under) and Beau Briggs (T-23, 3 over).

McBride’s solo second was one of three top-10 finishes for the Demon Deacons. Cameron Young (fifth, 5 under) and Eric Bae (T-9, 2 under) provided the others.

Liberty, the first-round leader by three shots, was led by a trio of top-20 finishers in Ervin Chang (T-9, 2 under), Gabe Lench (T-11, 1 under) and Mickey DeMorat (T-16, 1 over).

North Florida jumped four spots in the final round to solo third at 1 under thanks to a closing 4-under 284 round. Host UAB placed seventh at 6 over after dropping four spots in the last 18 due to a 10-over 298.

The undefeated Demon Deacons will resume action Oct. 1-3 at the Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course in North Plains, Ore.

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