Oglethorpe closes fall with 19-shot victory at Raven
DESTIN, Fla. – With a 10-shot lead on the eve of the final round at the Golfweek Division III Fall Invitational, Oglethorpe’s strategy shifted. The beginning of the week had been based on the team’s sheer determination to redeem itself after a nightmarish end to last year’s national championship. On Tuesday, the Stormy Petrels heeded their coach’s words to play wisely.
Jim Owen gathered his team after a second-round 5-under 279 at Sandestin’s Raven Golf Club and told them not to give away the lead.
“Today we knew it was going to be tough hole locations and we were prepared to not get suckered in,” Owen said.
His men listened. With an even-par 284 in the final round, Oglethorpe completed a 19-shot victory over LaGrange. Oglethorpe’s 5-under 847 is the best team total of the fall and set up its second victory.
Oglethorpe, No. 20 in the Golfstat head-to-head rankings, admittedly wobbled through the fall season, and the Golfweek Invitational provided the perfect opportunity for redemption on two fronts. Oglethorpe, a team that won the national championship in 2009 and 2012, was a favorite entering last year’s national championship at Raven. The Stormy Petrels, however, missed the 36-hole cut. After a fall season bordering on lackluster, Oglethorpe also wanted to close the fall with victory.
As a long winter approaches in Atlanta, Owen guesses he’ll have to say little to keep the fire burning until spring.
“The handwriting is on the wall about what we accomplished and what we nearly didn’t accomplish,” Owen said.
As Oglethorpe ran away with the team title, Anthony Maccaglia did the same with the individual one. The junior posted 7-under 206 (69-70-67) to finish three shots ahead of defending champion Cory Howard of LaGrange.
Maccaglia sandwiched seemingly easy rounds with one loaded with adversity. He was 5 over after 10 holes in Round 2, but birdied six of his final eight holes coming in. He explained the low numbers by saying he simply hit a lot of fairways and made a lot of putts.
Maccaglia is gunning for the Jack Nicklaus Award, awarded to the player of the year at each level of the game. Trent Erb became the first Stormy Petrel to win the award in 2004.
“What makes him so special is he can handle adversity so well,” Owen said.
On Tuesday, however, Maccaglia’s focus was on the team.
“It’s pretty awesome,” he said of the victory, “because of the let-down from nationals and coming back here to the scene of the crime.