Wake Forest takes Valspar Collegiate Title
Wake Forest junior Will Zalatoris <br>(Wake Forest Athletics Photo
Wake Forest junior Will Zalatoris
(Wake Forest Athletics Photo

PALM CITY, FL (March 21, 2017) -- A handful of teams made runs on Tuesday but in the end No. 16 Wake Forest was able to hold on for a one-stroke victory at the Valspar Collegiate hosted by The Floridian.

Starting the beautiful final day nine shots ahead, the Demon Deacons turned in a 4-over final round that left that at 7-over and the slimiest of margins in front of runner-up Georgia Tech (+8). No. 3 Oklahoma State (+9) was third and No. 17 Texas (+12); No. 8 LSU (+12) shared fourth. All four teams immediately behind Wake Forest were under-par on Tuesday but they simply ran out of holes to track down the overnight leaders.

The low round of the day for Wake Forest, winners of two events in a row and four overall, was junior Will Zalatoris. The Plano, TX native finished the tournament 1-under and tied for second place following rounds of 70-72-70.

Zalatoris had been making a strong bid for medalist honors but a double-bogey, bogey finish derailed those aspirations. The round started slowly for Zalatoris with a 2nd hole bogey but five birdies during the middle of the round from Nos. 7-16 brought him to as low as 4-under for the tournament.

Wake Forest led overnight thanks in large part to the second round play of freshman Eric Bae who finished the Valsapar Collegiate even-par and tied for third, junior Paul McBride was tied for 20th at 5-over, sophomore Cameron Young shared 25th at 6-over and sophomore Lee Detmer was tied for 46th at 10-over.

In the medalist race Tyler Strafaci of Georgia Tech was able to emerge as the winner by a stroke. What comes with the trophy? An invitation to play in the 2018 Valspar Championship on the PGA Tour.

“It’s unbelievable to win against a field like this. I just don’t really know what to say. I get to play in a PGA Tour event, and I can’t be happier to get to do that," Strafaci told Golfweek.

Following an opening 2-over 73, Strafaci rebounded with rounds of 69-69 to post a 54-hole tally of 2-under.

What makes the freshman's first career win even more improbable was that in his previous four appearances for the Yellow Jackets he never once finished better than 27th.

1-over for the tournament after 12-holes, Strafaci rallied to the house with 13th, 15th and then the winning birdie on the 17th hole.

Zalatoris shared second place with Scott Stevens of South Carolina at 1-under while six players were tied for fourth at even-par.

The group was comprised of 36-hole leader Thomas Rosenmueller (North Texas), Kristoffer Ventura (Oklahoma State), Sam Burns (LSU), Doug Ghim (Texas), Rigel Fernandes (USF) and Bae.

-Golfweek contributed to this story

Results: Valspar Collegiate Invitational
1FLTyler StrafaciDavie, FL80073-69-69=211
T2TXWill ZalatorisPlano, TX50070-72-70=212
T2TNScott StevensChattanooga, TN50071-70-71=212
T4LASam BurnsShreveport, LA40075-69-69=213
T4NorwayKristoffer VenturaNorway40070-71-72=213

View full results for Valspar Collegiate Invitational

ABOUT THE Valspar Collegiate Invitational

54-hole collegiate invitational hosted at The Floridian. Team (best four scores out of five players each round) and individual competitions. Began in 2014 and is already one of the elite college events on the schedule.

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