Conference Champions! Coach Jim Owen (right) and the Oglethorpe Men's Golf team.
The Oglethorpe men’s golf team captured its 11th conference championship in 16 years Sunday, and its first Southern Athletic Association (SAA) championship, as it outdistanced second-place Berry by a whopping 23 strokes at the SAA Championship at Limestone Springs in Oneonta, Ala.
The event was comprised of only two rounds, as it was called early in the third round due to rain and the scores reverted to where they were at the end of the second, making the Petrels’ final margin of victory all the more incredible.
Freshman Braden Baer won the individual medal for the event and was named SAA Player of the Year, as well as SAA Freshman of the Year.
The Petrels placed an unprecedented six players on the All-SAA First Team. Freshman Braden Baer (three-under 141) won the individual medal for the event and was named SAA Player of the Year, as well as SAA Freshman of the Year. Oglethorpe held the first four positions in the final individual standings, a feat that Oglethorpe hasn’t accomplished since Robert Miller, Chris Summers, Trent Erb and Corey Garner did it at the 2003 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship.
Following Baer’s three-under par was runner-up, junior Anthony Amodeo (one-under 143), and in third place came junior Hayden Jones (two-over 146). Rounding out the Petrels’ top four was sophomore Will Morrow, who fired a three-over 147 for a fourth-place tie. Finishing eighth in the tournament with a five-over 149 came senior Eric Quinn, and rounding out the Oglethorpe six came sophomore Anthony Maccaglia, firing an 11-over 155, which was good for 17th place.
The team led by 11 strokes after the first round, shooting an opening-round 290. They were the only team to break 300 on the day, ahead of Berry (301), Rhodes (307), Centre (308), and Millsaps (313).
Morrow led the Petrels on the day, finishing in second place with a first-round 71, just three strokes out of the individual lead. Jones finished Day 1 in a tie for third place, four strokes back of the lead. Baer was in fifth place by himself, five strokes back, and Quinn and Amodeo were tied for sixth, six strokes back.
Maccaglia had a bit of a disappointing day, shooting a first-round 80 and finishing the round tied for 25th, but the rest of the squad picked him up, pushing the Petrels out to the 11-stroke lead.
Though the SAA does not have an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship this season, the Petrels, who currently sit at No. 1 in multiple rankings, are more-or-less assured of securing one of the four Pool B bids available to teams who don’t have the possibility of playing for an automatic qualifying spot. The field will be announced on May 6 at 2 p.m., and the event will take place May 13-16 at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, Fla. The Petrels will be trying for their third national championship in five years, and their second in a row.