Lancers will play for golf championship
In a hectic final day of stroke play at the Big South Men’s Golf Championship, the Longwood men’s golf finished in a tie for first place and will advance to match play on Wednesday, April 21, to play for the championship.
The finish is Longwood’s best since joining the Big South Conference in the 2012-13 season, shattering their previous best finish of sixth, which they did twice in 2016 and 2017.
Longwood was the lone team to shoot under par in the final round at Grand Harbor, firing a season-low score of 281 (-3) to shoot up four spots on the leaderboard to finish in a three-way tie for first at 285-282-281—848 (-4). The Lancers fired season lows in three-consecutive rounds to end stroke play, matching both Radford and defending champion Campbell atop the field.
With the top-four finish, Longwood will advance to the final day of the Big South Championship where the four remaining teams will face off to determine the Big South’s automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals. The tiebreak, determined by GolfStat.com rankings, will pit No. 1 seed Campbell against No. 4 Gardner-Webb, while No. 2 Radford will face No. 3 Longwood in the semifinals starting at 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning. The winners of the first two matches will advance to the finals, starting at 1 p.m.
“What a day,” said Longwood head coach Kevin Fillman. “The last thing I told the guys before getting out of the van this morning was ‘let’s go have ourselves a day.’ We did. I’m glad we banked all those early birdies. That way, once we got to all the impossible hole locations we faced during the back half of the round, we were able to keep ourselves in the mix.
“Our goal all spring has been to make match play at the Big South Championships. This team has overcome so much over the past few months. To go from a complete program shutdown to playing our three best rounds of the year this week is pretty amazing.”
Three Longwood golfers ended in the top-10, led by returning senior Brandon Weaver who matched the Lancer program record with a T-2nd finish on the individual leaderboard. Weaver began his final round with a five under front nine, ending with six birdies and a card of 68-70-68—206 (-7), also matching the best finish to par a Longwood golfer has recorded at the Big South Championship, set by Blake Carter in 2015.
Weaver’s final round 68 marked the second lowest score of the day, bested only by individual medalist Hunter Fry from USC Upstate who ended with a 67 (-4), edging out Weaver by two strokes for the title with scores of 70-67-67—204 (-9). Weaver ended with the fourth most birdies in the field with 16, while ranking in the top-eight in scoring on par three, four, and five holes, shooting even par or lower on all three.
Two Lancers making their Big South Championship debut, Nick Rakes and Brendan Dunphy, joined Weaver in the top-10 as the pair both finished T-9th at even-par 213. Rakes, a true freshman from Evington, surged up 12 spots on the leaderboard in his final round with a 69 (-2). He added five more birdies on Tuesday, ending second on the team with 13 including a dazzling 4.22 (-7) average on par five holes, the fourth-best mark in the field.
Dunphy delivered a clutch final round of 71 (E), ending stroke play with scores of 73-69-71—213 to match Rakes at T-9th. Dunphy dropped in four birdies on Tuesday, as the Whitby, Ontario native led Longwood with 33 pars across 54 holes, adding 11 birdies. Dunphy did his best work on par four holes, ranking first in the field with a scoring average of 3.91 (-3). His final two round scores of 69 and 71 served as his lowest marks of the season in tournament play, as the clutch sophomore saved his best for last.
After struggling in his second round, sophomore Miles Parroco bounced back in a huge way to fire a final round score of 73 (+2), making five birdies to end with a card of 71-81-73—225 (+12). Parroco matched Rakes for the second most birdies on the team with 13, and made 24 pars across three rounds. Christian Michael followed right behind, ending with scores of 76-72-74—222 (+9) to end in T-34th.
Only Weaver entered the 2021 Big South Golf Championship with prior Big South tournament experience, as freshman Nick Rakes and sophomores Miles Parroco, Brendan Dunphy, and Christian Michael all made their debuts at the Patriot at Grand Harbor—the 2020 Championship was canceled due to concerns regarding the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the lack of experience, the Lancers racked up the second most birdies in the field with 62, trailing just Campbell’s 65, while ranking second in par five scoring (4.51, -22), and fourth in par-four scoring (4.12, +19).
“We have a new goal now,” added Fillman. “We’re here, so why not see how far we can go? I can assure you that none of us want to go home early.”
Longwood’s semifinals match against Radford will start on Wednesday, April 20 at 8:05 am as the Lancers will look to advance to the finals later in the afternoon. All live stats will be tracked at golfstat.com.
Big South Championship Match Play Semifinals
(2) Radford vs. (3) Longwood
Wednesday, April 21
1. Patrick Gareiss (RAD) vs. Brendan Dunphy (LWU), 8:05 a.m.
2. Nicholas Taliaferro (RAD) vs. Nick Rakes (LWU), 8:13 a.m.
3. Hunter Duncan (RAD) vs. Miles Parroco (LWU), 8:21 a.m.
4. Tyler Hull (RAD) vs. Brandon Weaver (LWU), 8:29 a.m.
5. Bryce Corbett (RAD) vs. Christian Michael (LWU), 8:37 a.m.
T1. Longwood, 285-282-281—848 (-4)
T1. Campbell, 280-278-290—848 (-4)
T1. Radford, 282-277-289—848 (-4)
4. Gardner-Webb, 285-281-286—852 (E)
5. Charleston Southern, 280-283-290— 853 (+1)
T6. Winthrop, 285-291-292—868 (+16)
T6. USC Upstate, 291-291-286—868 (+16)
8. Presbyterian, 290-287-292—869 (+17)
9. High Point, 294-295-288—877 (+25)
1. Hunter Fry, USC Upstate, -9
T2. Brandon Weaver, Longwood, -7
T2. Hunter Duncan, Radford, -7
4. Ryan Tattan, Winthrop, -5
5. Jake Scruggs, Gardner-Webb, -4
6. Miles Albright, Garnder-Webb, -2
T7. Lleyton Renner, Presbyterian, -1
T7. Pontus Nyholm, Campbell, -1
T9. Brendan Dunphy, Longwood, E
T9. Nick Rakes, Longwood, E
T9. Max Dupree, USC Upstate, E
T9. Patrick Gareiss, Radford, E
T9. Jake Carter, Charleston Southern, E
T2. Brandon Weaver, 68-70-68—206 (-7)
T9. Brendan Dunphy, 73-69-71—213 (E)
T9. Nick Rakes, 73-71-69—213 (E)
T34. Christian Michael, 76-72-74—222 (+9)
T41. Miles Parroco, 71-81-73—225 (+12)