A-Sun Summer Sessions: Men's Golf, #ASunMGolf

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

MACON, Ga. – Numerous team and individual championships, national and international recognition, conference and program record setting and continued postseason success all serve as highlights of the 2012-13 A-Sun men’s golf season.

The success of the 2012-13 season clearly exhibits why men’s golf continues to be one of the A-Sun’s most successful sports. The level of play in the conference continues to rise, as conference teams claimed seven claimed tournament championships and another eight individuals garnered tournament medalist titles.

Among their peers nationally, four teams finished in the top 80 in the GolfWeek rankings (No. 16 North Florida, No. 53 Kennesaw State, No. 73 ETSU and No. 78 Mercer), while four student-athletes also finished in the top 100 (the UNF trio of No. 6 Sean Dale, No. 28 MJ Maguire and No. 41 Kevin Phelan and Kennesaw State's Jimmy Beck at No. 76). Also as late as the NCAA Championships, North Florida joined Alabama as the only teams in the nation with three or more players ranked in the top 35.

During the regular season, more than half (11/20) of the Player of the Week honors were claimed by those who would participate in NCAA postseason competition.

Despite falling short of the match play rounds in the NCAA Championship, North Florida’s final two months of the season yielded significant results for the program and the conference. The No. 16-ranked Ospreys claimed their second straight A-Sun title, then made A-Sun and program history by winning the team title of the 2013 NCAA Tallahassee Regional. The best previous finish in a NCAA regional was third by the 2012 Ospreys and Kennesaw State in 2011.

At the regional the Ospreys posted a final round 281 (-7) en route to a championship winning total of 830 (-34), setting a new 54-hole record for the program. The victory also marked the second consecutive tournament title for UNF and third team championship of the spring season (John Hayt Collegiate Invitational, A-Sun Championship, NCAA Tallahassee Regional).

In addition, North Florida established the A-Sun record in postseason tournament play for a single round in relation to par (-16) during the event.

The Ospreys also made their second consecutive appearance at the NCAA Championships and the third trip in the last four seasons. All three of North Florida's rounds (281-282-286/849) were program bests in a NCAA Championship. The return to the NCAA Championship marked the eighth time in 10 years that an A-Sun team advanced to the Championship round.

Beck led Kennesaw State to its third straight NCAA Division I Regional appearance in 2013, and helped the Owls to a top-10 finish in Tempe, Ariz. Beck topped Kennesaw State with a 72.4 stroke average while playing in all 12 of the team’s tournaments. He posted 10 top-25 finishes, including four top 10s, and was the only player to claim individual medalist honors twice in 2012-13 (Pinetree Intercollegiate, Irish Creek Collegiate). The Owls’ sophomore also picked up his share of honors along the way, earning A-Sun First-Team All-Conference membership along with selection to the Academic All-Conference Team. Beck was also a member of the Division I PING All-Region Team for the Southeastern Region, as selected by the Golf Coaches Association of America. He became the third Kennesaw State individual to be honored by the GCAA since the program moved to Division I.

The Owls won the team title at the Pinetree Intercollegiate and finished 53rd nationally in the GolfWeek rankings. KSU owned the second lowest stroke average (294.05) in the A-Sun, trailing only A-Sun Champ UNF (288.51).

Off the course, KSU’s Ben Greene was named the A-Sun Scholar-Athlete of the Year and two other Owl teammates, Beck and Peder Lunde Hermansson, joined him on the A-Sun Academic All-Conference Team. Greene and Hermansson were also named to the 2012-13 Division I Capital One Academic All-America® Men’s At-Large Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

For the second straight year Mercer had representation in a NCAA Regional, as A-Sun All-Conference selections Hans Reimers (First Team) and Trey Rule (Second Team) joined FGCU’s Edward Figueroa to compete as individuals in the Tallahassee Regional. Reimers tied for 27th overall and Trey Rule finished tied for 52nd.

Reimers led the team this season with a 73.5 scoring average and posted four top-five finishes in the spring. He shot under par seven times, including a pair of 68s at the USF Invitational and the Seminole Intercollegiate. Rule competed in nine events with a 74.1 scoring average. His season included four top-20 finishes and four sub-par rounds, including a collegiate-best 68 in the final round of the Irish Creek Collegiate.

The Bears finished fourth in the A-Sun in stroke average (295.86) and finished fifth at the A-Sun Championship. They recorded their best finish at the AutoTrader Collegiate Classic, finishing third in the 16-team field, and finished in the top half in eight of their 10 tournaments.

For the second straight season ETSU finished as the A-Sun Championship runner-up, as Rhys Pugh and Scott Gibson finished second and third, respectively, and earned membership to the All-Tournament Team. The Bucs have finished no lower than fifth in any A-Sun Championship since joining the conference in 2005-06, with wins in 2007 and 2010.

The Bucs also won their last regular season tournament, the Wofford Invitational, and posted five top-five finishes in 2012-13. ETSU’s stroke average was third lowest in the A-Sun (294.12) in 11 tournaments. ETSU was also represented in the A-Sun postseason honors, as Pugh and Adrian Meronk were Second-Team All-Conference selections, while Meronk and Gudmundur Kristjansson were also members of the A-Sun All-Freshman Team.

FGCU's Edward Figueroa finished sixth at the A-Sun Championship and completed a fantastic freshman season at the NCAA Regional, finishing ninth overall in Tallahassee for his fifth top-10 finish of 2012-13. The A-Sun Freshman of the Year and All-Conference Second-Team selection carded five birdies in his first eight holes of the day in the final round and fell just short of advancing to the NCAA Championships.

Figueroa finished with 16 birdies over the three-day regional, pushing his year total to 97 over 30 rounds played this season. The 97 birdies are the fourth-most in program history, while they helped lower his season scoring average to 72.8, good for eighth-best. He finished with 12 par or better rounds, which is also good for eighth in program single-season history.

During the season the Eagles and Figueroa swept the Cobra Puma Invitational, as he went low at -16 while the team total of 837 was the lowest three-round total recorded by an A-Sun team in 2012-13. For the second time in three years, FGCU finished sixth in the A-Sun Championship. Figueroa also finished fourth in the A-Sun in stroke average (72.83) and posted seven top-20 finishes in 2012-13.

Jacksonville finished in the top half of five of its tournaments in 2012-13, including a season-best best runner-up at the Bash at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, SC. JU’s fourth-place finish at the A-Sun Championship was its best finish since the 2006 and 2007 campaigns when the Dolphins won the title, then returned to finish fourth, respectively. Three Dolphins finished in the Championship's top 20, led by Jamey Salmon (T/6th), Nick Torrance (T/12th) and A-Sun All-Freshman Team member Cyril Suk in 20th.

Suk posted the best stroke average (74.26) in seven tournaments to lead the Dolphins in 2012-13, while posting four top-20 finishes that included a pair of top-10s. Suk’s average ranked him 12th in the A-Sun, while Torrance (74.45) followed closely behind at 15th. Torrance was a steady player for JU, recording six top-20 finishes on the season.

USC Upstate was one of only two teams to pick up multiple wins and joined North Florida with a pair individual wins during the season. The Spartans claimed team victories at the Rutgers Invitational and the Charleston Shootout, while Adam Goins and Brad Sill garnered titles at the Rutgers Invitational and the Forest Hills Collegiate. The team wins marked the first time since the 2007-08 season (Upstate’s first playing on the Division I level) that the Spartans have won two team championships in a season, giving them a total of eight titles since the inception of the NCAA-era golf team in 2005-06.

The Spartans recorded a stroke average of 300.72, ranking ninth overall in the A-Sun, and were led by Goins and Ryan Cornfield. Each played in all nine events this season for Upstate, and Goins topped the Spartans with a 74.14 average that placed him 10th in the conference. Along with his win he also contributed four top 5/10 finishes on the year. In his first season, Cornfield was second on the team with a 75.00 stroke average that ranked him in a tie for 20th in the A-Sun. He also contributed two top-10 and one top-five finish. Both also finished in the top 20 at the A-Sun Championship, Goins in a tie for ninth and Cornfield in a tie for 16th.

Under new head coach Will Brewer, Lipscomb finished the season with the fifth-best stroke average in the A-Sun (291.81) and the fourth-best low round of 280. Senior Blanton Farmer led the Bisons with the eighth-best stroke average in the A-Sun (73.97), and his season results included winning in a playoff at the Murray State Invitational and posting six top-20 finishes overall.

The Bisons finished eighth at the A-Sun Championship, with junior Dustin Wilder leading the way in a tie for ninth. The finish was the second-best for Lipscomb since joining the A-Sun, as the Bisons finished seventh in 2008. In the regular season Lipscomb finished in the top half of five tournaments, including a runner-up at Murray State.

In its first season in A-Sun competition, Northern Kentucky finished in the top half of five tournaments, including third-place finishes at the Wasioto Winds Fall Kickoff Invitational and the Don Benbow Invitational and a fourth at the Bearcat Invitational.

The Norse finished ninth at the A-Sun Championship, led by Michael Schmidt who finished in a tie for 21st. Junior Corey Richmond led the Norse with a 75.12 stroke average and added the team’s only individual victory of the season. Richmond finished three-under-par in the Bearcat Invitational at Traditions Golf Course with a two-day total of 213. He opened the three-round event with his season low of 67, also the lowest round shot in the tournament, and carded rounds of 73-73 to finish the event tied for first with Austin Peay's Anthony Bradley. He captured the individual medal with a birdie on the first playoff hole.

After 53 years of service wearing a variety of hats, Stetson Head Coach Bob Weickel concluded his career during the 2012-13 season. After Sam Ryder claimed the individual title last season at the A-Sun Championship, Weickel returned with a young team that finished in the top half of a pair of tournaments in the regular season, including a third-place finish at the Gary Freeman Invitational.

Freshman Dustin Dingus led Stetson with a 74.61 stroke average and a resume that included a pair of top-five finishes and a top-10. The Hatters finished 10th at the A-Sun Championship, led by a top-25 finish by Andrew Peterson.

Additional #ASunMGolf Notables

• A-Sun men's golfers received considerable national recognition in 2012-13:

– PING All-America: Sean Dale (second team), MJ Maguire (third team), Kevin Phelan (honorable mention)

– GolfWeek All-America: Sean Dale (first team), MJ Maguire (third team), Kevin Phelan (honorable mention)

– Division I PING All-Region (Southeastern): Sean Dale, Kevin Phelan, MJ Maguire, Jimmy Beck

– Ben Hogan Award semifinalist: Sean Dale

– Palmer Cup participants: Sean Dale (USA), Kevin Phelan (Europe)

• Sean Dale became the first player in A-Sun history to win Player of the Year honors three times (2010, 2012 and 2013)

• Kevin Phelan became only the sixth player in A-Sun history to earn All-Conference honors four times (2010-2013)

• An A-Sun team has advanced out of regional play to participate in the NCAA Championship in nine of the last 10 years.

• Four of the A-Sun’s Top-5 finishes in NCAA Regional play have come in the last six years, three recorded by UNF (1st - 2013, 3rd - 2012, 4th - 2010) and one by Kennesaw State (3rd - 2011).

• An A-Sun team has also finished in the top six of a NCAA Regional in five of the last seven years.

• North Florida became the first team to repeat as A-Sun Champions since the 2002 and 2003 Jacksonville State teams. MJ Maguire also became UNF’s first individual A-Sun Champion. The Ospreys have finished no worse than third in the A-Sun Championship since joining the conference in 2005.

• ETSU has finished first or second in five of the last seven A-Sun Championships, with wins in 2007 and 2010. The Bucs have also had the A-Sun Champion or at least a tie for runner-up in six of the last seven championships.

• KSU has finished among the top three teams in the A-Sun Championship in four of the last six years.