SEC claims 'Top Conference' honors at Coll. Cup
KINGSTON SPRINGS, Tenn. – The SEC was all business Sunday at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Collegiate Challenge Cup at The Golf Club of Tennessee.
The SEC defeated the ACC in commanding fashion, 17-8, to earn “Top Conference” honors in the inaugural event.
Georgia, which also won the team event Saturday (read about that here), led the SEC victory as the Bulldogs defeated Clemson, 5-0.
Georgia junior Mookie DeMoss posted the largest margin of victory, defeating Clemson freshman Carson Young, 9 and 7. DeMoss won every hole except Nos. 4 and 10.
In the last match of the day, Georgia senior Joey Garber defeated sophomore Cody Proveaux, 1 up.
“We both struggled a little bit," Garber said, "but when we needed to play well, we did. That made for a great back nine.”
The Bulldogs were the only team to go undefeated.
“It’s just a huge momentum thing for us to get it going this early in the season,” Garber said. “It’s huge.”
Tennessee edge Wake Forest, 3-2, to help the SEC's cause. Sophomore Oliver Goss paced the Vols with a 2-up victory against Demon Deacons senior Thomas Birdsey.
Goss has had plenty of match-play experience after this runner-up finish at this year’s U.S. Amateur at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
“That was huge,” Goss said of playing in the Amateur. “It’s the biggest tournament amateurs can play in… it just helped me a lot.”
Goss was up early on in his match, but Birdsey fought back by sticking approach shots on Nos. 6, 7 and 9 to square the match at the turn.
Goss, a 6-foot-2-inch Australian, made birdies on Nos. 10-12 to go 2 up before struggling on Nos. 13-15 as Birdsey squared the match.
A solid two-putt on the par-3 16th allowed Goss to take the lead for good before a birdie at No. 18 sealed the victory.
The SEC posted two other victories as Mississippi State defeated Boston College, 3-2, and Vanderbilt beat Duke, 4-1.
Virginia earned the only victory for the ACC, edging Texas A&M, 3-2.
After the first four matches were split, the outcome came down to Virginia’s Denny McCarthy and Texas A&M’s Ben Crancer, who earned individual medalist honors on Saturday.
“Going into it, I knew it was going to be a good match,” McCarthy said. “Ben and I are pretty good friends, and I think we both kind of wanted to play each other, so that worked out well. I knew it was going to be a grind.”
Crancer made par on No. 9 to square the match entering the back nine. McCarthy regained the lead with a par 3 on the 10th and went 2 up with a birdie on the par-4 11th. Crancer won the 12th with a birdie-3 before pulling even again with a par on No. 15, setting the stage for McCarthy's closing drama.
McCarthy stuck his third shot on the par-5 17th to 4 feet and made the birdie putt to go 1 up. Crancer had missed a 15-foot birdie attempt.
After a solid approach shot at 18, McCarthy was conceded birdie to win, 2 up.
“I was feeling a little bit of pressure,” McCarthy said. “I was just trying to give myself a good chance for a 3, knowing I have to make par, and I did that.”
McCarthy, a junior from Rockville, Md., said that despite the ACC's loss to the SEC, the weekend had been an outstanding experience.
"I wish collegiate golf would do more of this,” he said.