Photo courtesy of North Carolina Athletics
It took until their third tournament of the fall, but North Carolina finally played like the team deserving of its lofty preseason ranking in winning the Ben Hogan Collegiate Invitational on Tuesday at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Tar Heels, which entered the season ranked No. 2 in the nation in the Bushnell/Golfweek Coaches Poll, soundly defeated a strong field to win their first team title of the season with a 15-under par total of 825 at famed Colonial Country Club, which was good for a nine-stroke win over sixth-ranked Texas Tech (-6).
No. 5 Arizona State and Pepperdine tied for third at 5-under, while top-ranked Vanderbilt rounded out the top five at 1-under. Oklahoma State was sixth (+4), Stanford was seventh (+5), defending NCAA champion Texas was eighth (+8), and Florida, Oregon and TCU tied for ninth at 11 over.
TCU's Gustav Frimodt
claimed medalist honors at 8-under 202 (71-66-65), one stroke clear of William Mouw
of Pepperdine two better than reigning NCAA men's individual champion Gordon Sargent
of Vanderbilt, North Carolina's Austin Greaser
and Texas' outstanding freshman Christiaan Maas
Back to the Tar Heels.
With a lineup featuring Greaser, runner-up in the 2021 U.S. Amateur and current Western Amateur champion, Southern Amateur champion David Ford
and Dylan Menante
, who helped Pepperdine win a national championship two years ago as a sophomore, expectations were sky high for Andrew DiBitetto's team entering the season.
And they still are, but a third-place finish at the Fighting Irish Classic followed by a disappointing 11th-place showing at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Classic left Carolina scratching its head just a bit.
The Tar Heels will return to Chapel Hill tonight with a renewed sense of confidence after running away from a field that included six of the top-10 teams in the nation.
Carolina's big three -- Greaser, Ford and Menante -- all finished in the top eight of the medalist chase while the Tar Heels shot under par in all three rounds, including a 5-under 275 in today's third and final round, for a resounding nine-stroke victory.
Greaser (70-66-68) tied for third at 6-under 204, two shots behind medalist Frimodt of TCU, who shot 9-under (66-65) over the final two rounds to win the individual title.
Ford (70-66-70) tied for sixth at 4-under 206 while Menante (69-70-68) tied for eighth at 3-under 207. Ryan Burnett
also finished in the red at 1-under 209 (69-70-70) while 2021 ACC individual champion Peter Fountain
tied for 27th at 2-over 212 (71-72-69).
Greaser (68), Menante (68) and Fountain (69) paced Carolina's final round 5-under 275 on Tuesday.
Frimodt followed an opening round 71 with a career-best 66 (-5) and at 3-under 137, began the day three strokes back of 36-hole leader Bartley Forrester of Georgia Tech.
The senior from Glamsbjerg, Denmark picked right up where he left off on Monday and put the clamps on his first collegiate victory with a final round 65 (-5). His maiden victory was no small feat, as it came against a stacked field that included 15 of the top 30 ranked amateurs in the world.
The Tar Heels return to action Oct. 10-12 at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Fla., in the Jackson T. Stephens Cup.
ABOUT THE Ben Hogan Collegiate Invitational
54-hole men's collegiate championship for teams in the
Big 12 Conference. Team (best four scores out of six
players each round) and individual competitions.
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