The Furman Paladins broke through for their first win of the season. Interviews with coach Matt Davidson and medalist Jack Crosby
Furman breaks through for first win of the year
The Furman Paladins probably wish they could have spread out a few of the 27 shots they won the Wofford Invitational by over the whole season.
The Paladins got their first win of the year after finishing second four times, three of those times was by just one shot.
“We actually learned a lot from those runner-up finishes,” said Furman coach Matt Davidson. “I think it helped us this week get the win,” he said.
The team win marked the first victory for first year head coach Matt Davidson.
While the victory was the first team win of the season Jack Crosby added the fourth individual title to the Paladins season total.
Crosby and reigning SoCon player of the year Keller Harper each now have two wins this year.
The junior from Memphis won the first tournament he played for the Paladins finishing on top of the field at the Camden Collegiate Invitational last October.
His first college win was by one shot, his victory at the Wofford tournament was by six shots.
“The biggest factor for me was confidence,” said Crosby. “My confidence has never been as high as it is right now,” he said.
The tournament format called for a 36 hole first day and an 18 hole final round.
Crosby shot rounds of 65 and 70 to share the 36 hole lead at 9-under par with Gamecock golfer Ryan Hall, who was playing as an individual entrant.
Crosby opened the final round with a birdie and made the turn at 2-under par. He gave back three shots on the 10th and 11th hole before running off three birdies on 14, 15 and 16.
He eagled the difficult 17th hole to finish the day at 4-under par 68.
“I’m hitting the ball well, putting the ball well and everything is coming together finally,” said Crosby.
Hall finished in second place while Bracton Womack of Tennessee Tech and Chase Korte from Austin Peay tied for third place.
The Furman team had a comfortable nine shot lead going into the final round and slammed the door on the rest of the field carding the best round of the tournament.
Furman shot a 10-under par round of 278 to get to 25 under par. The Paladins claimed a 27 shot victory over Austin Peay University.
“This is a pretty resilient team. We have a lot of competition at home. Everyone wants to be in the lineup and so we have a hard working bunch,” said the Paladin coach.
The Paladin’s have now used 10 players during the season to play into position to compete for the conference tournament title in a few weeks.
The play of the team in the last few tournaments hasn’t changed Davidson’s expectations for the season, but it has given the entire squad a great deal more confidence going into the conference.
“Its nice to have a win under our belt so if we can get in the hunt at the conference we will have the experience,” said Davidson.
With a ranking just outside the top-100 the Paladins know the only way to extend the season into a NCAA Regional is to win the conference tournament.
“We will have to win the conference tournament to have a chance to go to regionals. The SoCon has a lot of good teams, but this win is going to help us,” noted the Paladin coach.
In addition to Crosby’s victory Scott Purvis and Stephen Reynolds finished in a tie for fifth place. Conner Brunns finished in a tie for 22nd and after a difficult opening round Harper finished with a 4-under par 68 to earn a top-25 finish.
Playing as an individual, Matt Lehman ended up in a tie for 19th place showing the depth of the team as it approaches the most important tournament of the season.
The Paladins will play in the Clemson Invitational this weekend and then get ready for the SoCon Tournament which begins on April 21st in Pinehurst.