Oglethorpe University completed a wire-to-wire run to claim the 2012 NCAA D-III Men’s Golf Championship on Friday at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida. The title is the Stormy Petrels’ second in four years for head coach Jim Owen and makes Oglethorpe just the sixth school to win multiple championships in the 37 year history of the event.
Petrel freshman Anthony Maccaglia (Tampa, Florida) shook off a balky start to his round to claim medalist honors, becoming just the fourth freshman (along with Methodist’s Brion McLaughlin in 1997 and Chad Collins in 1998 and Oglethorpe’s Olafur Loftsson in 2009) to claim the top individual prize. Additionally, Oglethorpe is now one of only three programs in the nation to have multiple individual champions. Methodist University and Cal State Stanislaus are the other two.
The Stormy Petrels entered the round with a 16-stroke advantage over Methodist and managed to keep most of the tournament drama on who would claim second, third and fourth place. The Pioneers of Transylvania tracked down Methodist for the second spot, besting the third place Monarchs by a scant stroke. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps claimed fourth.
Oglethorpe’s Hayden Jones (Orlando, Florida) pushed Maccaglia, shrinking his pre-round 7 shot advantage down to 3 before settling for second place individually at even par for the Championships. Other individuals scoring top-5 finishes at the Championships were Dex Reese (Illinois Wesleyan) and Jeremy Sanders in a tie for third and Tain Lee (Mudd-Scripps) in fifth.
Maccaglia’s stellar week that saw him finish the tournament as the only player under par at -5 was capped by a bevy of awards. He became an individual champion and team champion by the NCAA standards while also earning the Arnold Palmer Award for being the tournament medalist and Phil Mickelson Award as the nation’s best freshman by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA). Jones, just a sophomore, earned First Team All-America status by the GCAA.
Oglethorpe sophomore Anthony Amodeo rallied from a difficult first two days to come home in a tie for 36th while senior Matt Rebitch (Delmont, Pa.) finished tied for 40th. Junior Eric Quinn (Norcross, Ga.) carded a tie for 66th place result.
“I couldn’t be happier for this group of guys,” said Owen. “After the fall season, they really embraced the team concept and started minimizing their mistakes. I knew coming down here we had a great chance to win, but never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined a 20 stroke victory.”