The Gardner-Webb Bulldogs rallied at the perfect time to save a victory at the Coca-Cola Wofford Invitational played at The Country Club of Spartanburg.
The Bulldogs started the final round trailing Wofford on the Terrier’s home course by four shots. As the final round neared the halfway point the Terriers lead ballooned to 10 shots over the Bulldogs.
Wofford built their lead on the strength of Andrew Novak’s 7-under par round of 65 which included an eagle on number 15.
Jeremy Grab carded five birdies on the front nine to shoot a 30, but on the back nine he had two double bogeys and bogeyed the final two holes.
The Terriers saw their 10 shot lead evaporate at the end of the round.
“Hole seventeen and eighteen just ate our lunch today,” said Wofford golf coach Vic Lipscomb. “We had a lost ball double and two bogeys on 17. Gardner-Webb played well and those two holes turned into a six shot swing,” said the Terrier coach.
A couple more bogeys on the closing hole and a few more birdies by the Bulldogs gave the G-W golfers a five shot victory. The Bulldogs finished with a team total of 847 while the Terriers were second at 852.
The defending champions from Army (West Point) came in third place with USC Upstate and Charleston Southern tying for fourth.
Gardner-Webb’s Vincent Blanchette finished the 54 hole event at 14-under par for medalist honors. Just as with the team tournament, the individual title was determined by Blanchette rallying on the final holes.
The Bulldog junior birdied four of his last five holes including rolling in a 30 footer on the final hole to make sure he and his team were both winners. His winning score of 202 set a new tournament record.
“I know it got close during the round and I wanted to make sure I made as many birdies as I could coming in,” said Blanchette. “On the last hole I wanted to make the putt for the team, I didn’t want to two putt,” he said.
The victory was the first of the season for the Bulldog team and the first college win for Blanchette. Joining the individual champion on the winning team were Chris Jones, Aaron Thomas, Jake Kennedy and Jonathan Henry.
Austin James of Charleston Southern tied Novak for second place after shooting a final round 3-under par 69. Jones of Gardner-Webb and Dean Sakata of Army tied for fourth place.
This was the final tournament of the regular season for most teams in the event. Gardner-Webb will next play in the Big South Championship at The Patriot near Ninety Six. Wofford will play in the SoCon Championship in a few weeks at Pinehurst.
Categories: + College Golf