The two teams that Mark Guhne worried about the most — other than his own — heading into the Southern Conference men’s golf tournament passed his guys after the final turn.
Georgia Southern shot 5 under par for the final nine holes at the Country Club of South Carolina at Florence to erase a five-shot deficit and win with a 3-under 861.
After leading the first two days, Guhne’s youthful University of Tennessee at Chattanooga squad finished third at 867, one shot behind UNC Greensboro. The Mocs played a junior, a sophomore and three freshmen.
“We are young and we made some mistakes,” Guhne said. “They got to pressing a bit when it got tight, and we haven’t been in battles very much this season.
“With our history, winning three of the last four SoCons, the guys are disappointed, but I’m not disappointed in them.”
UTC’s four counting scorers Tuesday combined to shoot 9 over on the last four holes.
“We scrapped it around, we tried our best and it wasn’t enough,” said UTC junior Stephan Jaeger, who earned the SoCon golfer of the year award. “We didn’t do what we intended to do, but we’ve worked all season, we’ll play in [NCAA] regionals and that’s a big achievement.”
The Mocs will play in one of six regional tournaments beginning May 16 and could advance to the NCAA championship from there.
“We didn’t win SoCon, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad year,” Guhne said. “We can do something special in the NCAAs.”
UTC sophomore Steven Fox tied for fourth at 2-under 214 in the SoCon tournament, won by Davidson’s Richard Fountain at 207. Jaeger shared eighth place at 216, which topped freshman teammate Chris Robb by a stroke. Davis Bunn tied for 21st at 221, and fellow freshman Benni Weilguni was one stroke behind Bunn.
Fox and Weilguni joined Jaeger on the all-conference team, and Bunn and Weilguni earned all-freshman honors.
“Who knows what our future holds,” Guhne said. “Georgia Southern had experience and it paid off. But we got some experience that we can use this season.”
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...