'Canes Finish 10th; Gahman Advances To Nationals

HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. - The 22nd-ranked Georgia Southwestern golf team made a run at top squads during Wednesday's final round, moving as close as two shots within a birth in the NCAA National Championships, before finishing in 10th place at the 20-team NCAA Division II South/Southeast Regional. All-Peach Belt Conference First Team honoree Nate Gahman led the Hurricanes throughout the three-day, three-round event and earned a trip to the national tournament as an individual after carding a 3-over par 219 total.

Gahman, a senior from Leesburg, Ga., finished eighth out of 108-players at the 54-hole event but it took two extra holes to determine if his collegiate career would continue. Gahman tied Adam Hedges of Belmont Abbey College and Daniel Claytor from Barton College for the top score from a player not on a team advancing to the national tournament. With only two individual invites available and three players tied, a playoff followed. All three golfers shot par on the first playoff hole, but Gahman and Hedges birdied the second playoff hole to punch their tickets to the NCAA Championships, May 20–22 in Hershey, Pa. 

The top-ranked program in Division II, Nova Southeastern won the team title by 16 strokes with a 9-under 855. The top seven teams in the regional qualified for nationals. No. 3 USC Aiken edged No. 19 Barton by one stroke with a 27-over 891 for the final spot, 12 shots ahead of the Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes played tremendous golf over the opening nine holes of Wednesday's final round, draining 12 birdies and eventually pulling within two shots of the coveted seventh team slot on the leaderboard. Over the first two rounds of the tournament at the par-72, 6,928-yard El Campeon golf course at Mission Inn Resort & Club GSW had combined for 14 birdies.

Andrew Ritchot, the Peach Belt Conference Golfer of the Week on April 4, moved up 40 slots in the individual standings after firing a tournament-low 68 (4-under par) for GSW in the final round. Ritchot shot a bogey-free, 4-under through his first nine holes on Wednesday before matching a pair of birdies and bogeys on the back nine. Ritchot finished tied for 17th with a three-day total of 221 and matched five other golfers for best performance on the Par 5s, playing the holes 6-under par. 

All-PBC First Team selection J.P. Griffin tied for 62nd after carding a 77 in Round 3. Matthew Whittaker tied for 72nd overall for GSW, a stroke back of Griffin, with a final score of 232. Anders Olsson finished with a 252 total.

Ben Taylor edged out teammate Ricardo Celia from Nova Southeastern for the regional's individual title with a 6-under 210.

2013 NCAA DIVISION II SOUTH/SOUTHEAST REGIONAL - TEAM SCORES

  Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total  
(1) Nova Southeastern 287 284 284
855 -9
(2) Barry University
284 296
291
871 +7
(9) Columbus State 298 298
291
887
+23
(T4) Florida Southern
293 295
299
887 +23
(T4) Lynn University
288 306
295
889 +25
(16) West Florida
298 298
294
890 +26
(3) USC Aiken
295 303
293
891
+27
(19) Barton 304 295
293
892 +28
(15) Georgia College
291 295
313
899 +35
(22) Georgia Southwestern
309
298
296
903 +39
(7) North Alabama
297
306
300
903
+39
(21) Rollins College
294 306
307
907 +43
Erskine College
306 313
291
910 +46
(14) Armstrong Atlantic
309 302
305
916 +52
(13) Belmont-Abbey 303 308
305
916 +52
 Eckerd College
305 306
308
919 +55
(RV) Florida Tech
306 311
303
920 +56
(RV) Valdosta State
307 307
312
926 +62
(RV) Mount Olive College
316
309
303
928
+64
(RV) Lincoln Memorial 314
310
312
936
+72
           
( ) - NCAA Division II ranking in latest Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches Poll with RV = received votes

GSW SCORES

Place   Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total  
T8
Nate Gahman
76 71
72
219 +3
T17 Andrew Ritchot
79
74
68
221 +5
T62 J.P. Griffin 78 76
77
231 +15
T72
Matthew Whittaker
76 77
79
232 +16
106 Anders Olsson
86 85
81
252 +36