Chandler Blanchet, the 2017 NCAA Division II Individual Champion
KISSIMMEE, FL (May 24, 2017) - Chandler Blanchet of West Florida won the NCAA Division II Championship at the Reunion Resort, while Barry University led a group of eight teams to advance to the match play stage of the championship.
John Coultas of Florida Southern entered the day with a one-shot lead over Niclas Weiland of Barry, and by two over Blanchet, John Clare of LeMoyne, and Mike Anderson of Barry.
All of them backed up throughout the final round, as the Watson Course at Reunion played the toughest it had all week. Gusty winds and heat indices in the mid-90s combined to give the players fits, as only three players broke par for the day.
Coultas appeared to have the championship in hand with a three shot lead with three holes to play. But consecutive bogeys on sixteen and seventeen gave Blanchet the opening he needed, and he parred in to win by one shot.
Blanchet closed with a three-over 73 for a one-under 209 total. Coultas (76) was solo second, with three players--Weiland (76), Clare (75), and Trevor Lampson of California Baptist (72) tied for third at 211.
Teams from the state of Florida dominated the team leaderboard. Barry led wire-to-wire to earn the #1 match play seed, three shots ahead of Florida Southern and four ahead of West Florida. Lynn University and Florida Tech rounded out the top five. Newberry College of South Carolina was the leading out-of-state team, finishing sixth.
The drama surrounded which team would claim the eighth and final spot to advance to the match play stage. The shotgun start meant that all teams in contention were finishing at the same time, and the leaderboard fluctuated throughout the round. Seven teams--Ferris State,
California Baptist, North Alabama, Cal State Monterey Bay, Arkansas Tech, CSU East Bay,
and Le Moyne College--jockeyed for the final two match play spots.
LeMoyne shot themselves out of contention with a final-round 314. Cal State Monterey Bay (303) and CSU East Bay (301) also faded in the heat and wind. Arkansas Tech went the other way, shooting 289 and getting themselves into contention after starting well outside the eighth spot. The others alternated spots in the top eight throughout the day.
Ferris State claimed the seventh position despite closing with a 305, leaving the final spot up for grabs.
California Baptist appeared to have an inside track to the eighth spot, but five doubles as a team over their last six holes left them just outside looking in. North Alabama also fell just short, going 11-over on their final four holes to miss out by one shot.
That left Arkansas Tech as the last team standing. Their final round of nine-over 289 was the best round of the day.
Florida Southern will be attempting to win its record-extending 13th NCAA Division II championship as match play starts on Thursday. Barry will be going for its fourth championship, West Florida its second, and the others their first in program history.
The Final 8:
#1 Barry v. #8 Arkansas Tech
#2 Florida Southern v. #7 Ferris State
#3 West Florida v. #6 Newberry College
#4 Lynn v. #5 Florida Tech
ABOUT THE NCAA Division II Championship
The National Championship of championship of
men's college golf teams. From its inception through
2010, it was a 72-hole stroke play team
with an additional award for the lowest scoring
individual competitor. The team format changed
starting in 2011 to 54 holes of stroke play followed
by an eight-team single elimination medal match
play competition. The 54-hole individual leader is
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