For the second time in program history the Wilmington University golf team captured the NCAA Division II Atlantic/East Super Regional Tournament, posting a 296 on Wednesday to finish five strokes ahead of the field at Longaberger Golf Club.
With the win the Wildcats automatically advance to the NCAA Division II National Tournament along with at-large bids going to Indiana (Pa.), Charleston, and Le Moyne. The Wildcats finished the three-day tournament with a 309-292-296 for a tournament score of 897 (+33).
The Super Regional victory is the second for the Wildcats, and the second Regional Championship for any sport in Wilmington University's NCAA era (2004-05). The Wildcats also won the Atlantic/East Super Regional in 2012. The team advances to its fourth NCAA Division II National Tournament in the last five years.
Sophomore Sam Clark, who started the day atop the individual leaderboard, once again led the Wildcats on Wednesday. Clark did his part in pursuit of medalist honors, sinking three straight birdie puts early on before making the turn with a 35 (-1). He got his score to two-under twice on the back nine, but finished with a 36 (E) to post a 71 (-1) on the day.
But it wasn't meant to be for Clark, as IUP's Kenneth Sames saved the best round of the tournament for last, shooting a 68 (-4) to jump Clark and win the tournament by a single stroke with a 214 (-2). Clark and Sames were the only players to finish under par for the tournament.
Freddy Braun posted a solid round on Wednesday for his best showing of the week, shooting a 74 (+2) to finish the tournament 85-78-74 for a 237 and in a tie for 46th overall.
Andreas Lunding eagled the fourth hole and finished the front nine with a 35 (-1), but back-to-back double bogeys to start the back-nine had the junior fighting an uphill battle. Lunding was able to birdie the 18th hole to close out a 75 (+3) for the day, finishing the tournament with a 72-75-75 for a 222 (+6) and in fourth place overall.
Jordan Lamb rounded out the Wildcat scoring on Wednesday with a solid back-nine, finishing with a 76 (+4) for the day. The junior eagled the seventh hole and birdied the eighth, but was hindered by a double bogey on four and a triple bogey on nine to close out the front-nine. Birdies on 10 and 16 got Lamb to three-over before wrapping up the day with a 76. Lamb finished in a tie for 42nd, shooting an 85-75-76 for a tournament score of 236 (+20).
Joey Russo started the day on a sour note, shooting a double bogey on the first hole. The freshman birdied the sixth hole but finished the front-nine with back-to-back bogeys to finish at 39 (+3). Seven pars on the back-nine allowed Russo to come home with a 77 (+5) for the Wildcats, finishing in a tie for 14th for the tournament. He shot a 79-71-77 for a three-round score of 227 (+11).
The Wildcats will head to the NCAA Division II National Tournament later this month with the first round starting on May 18. All 20 teams play three rounds with the Top-8 teams advancing to match play to determine a national champion.
The NCAA Division II National Tournament will be hosted at Rock Barn Golf & Spa in Conover, N.C.