Oglethorpe Men’s Golf Captures Conference Championship

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.

Oglethorpe’s Jim Owen Named Nation’s Best D-III Golf Coach

Coach Owen instructs Anthony Maccaglia.

Yesterday, the Golf Coaches Association of America, together with Eaton Corporation, announced the six outstanding collegiate golf coaches receiving this year’s Dave Williams Award, presented by Eaton Golf Pride to recognize the national coaches of the year. Oglethorpe University head men’s golf coach Jim Owen earned the honor among all D-III coaches.

Owen guided the Stormy Petrels through a magical 2011-12 season that culminated with the program winning their second NCAA Championship in just four years. After a fall season that featured three top-five finishes, Owen settled on a spring lineup of a freshman (Anthony Maccaglia), two sophomores (Hayden Jones and Anthony Amodeo), a junior (Eric Quinn) and a lone senior (Matt Rebitch). That quintet proved nearly unbeatable, winning three of six spring events while narrowly settling for second place in the other three.

Coach Owen with Hayden Jones.

The Petrels won the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) for the 10th time in April when they led wire-to-wire en route to an easy 21-stroke victory at the Tunica National Resorts in Mississippi. Less than a month later, Owen’s squad duplicated the feat, this time on the biggest stage of them all at the NCAA Championships, on their way to a convincing 20-stroke win at the Mission Inn Resort in Florida.

In addition to the 2012 NGCAA Coach of the Year (COTY) honor, Owen has been named SCAC Men’s Golf COTY 12 times! He’ll be looking to guide his program to their 13th straight trip to the NCAAs when the 2012-13 season gets underway this fall as the Petrels begin play in the new Southern Athletic Association.

Congratulations, Coach Owen!

Golfers Break from NCAA Prep to Train Special Olympians

Fresh off winning their 10th SCAC title, the Oglethorpe men’s golf team is prepping for the 2012 NCAA D-III Championships at the Mission Inn Resort in Florida. Following Sunday’s practice round, the squad took a break to spend time with members of the Lake County Special Olympics and help sharpen their golf skills.

The NCAA has recently partnered with the Special Olympics to help celebrate the uniqueness of Division III college athletics. The clinic was coordinated through the NCAA by Mary Adamson, Lake County Special Olympics Coordinator, and Oglethorpe Head Men’s Golf Coach Jim Owen (pictured far left). More than 30 members of the Lake County Special Olympics attended with 10 different teams and coaches participating at the 2012 Championships lending a hand with instructional advice.

The Special Olympians rotated through five stations of drills that were tailored to fine-tune their golf skills. The stations included 15 minutes of one-on-one instruction on iron play, driving skills, bunker play, short game situations and putting.

“The response to participate in this clinic was overwhelming,” said Owen. “We actually had to turn volunteers away to keep the instruction to a one-on-one basis. It was a thrill to work with the Special Olympians and I know our kids really enjoyed the experience.”

All five starters on the Stormy Petrel squad—Matt Rebitch, Eric Quinn, Anthony Amodeo, Hayden Jones and Anthony Maccaglia (pictured far right wearing white in the photo)—participated in the clinic as the team gets set for Tuesday’s first round.

“We’re really focused on bringing home the school’s second golf title so the break from our pre-tournament routine to help out with the Special Olympians was a welcome one,” said senior Matt Rebitch. “Now we’re hoping they can come back out later in the week to help cheer us on!”