When Will Morlan stopped to think about a shot or a hole that propelled him to his win at the Hootie at Bulls Bay tournament, he decided the key to his win actually happened before he got to the tournament in Awenda.
Morlan earned his third win of the season, shooting a final round 8-under par 64 and carded an 18-under par 198 to win by two shots.
“I was rolling the ball well and playing okay, but I could tell something was missing,” said Morlan. “I wasn’t sure what it was,” he said.
Furman played in the General Hackler at The Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach a little over a week ago. The team finished tied for 7th and Morlan had a T-20 finish at 1-under par on a tough golf course.
“I found something on the range after our last tournament and it really helped me this week,” said Morlan. “My dad worked with me on my set up and on the range I started hitting it the way I was in the fall. I really felt good about my game coming into this week,” he said.
Morlan’s dad Bill was a college golfer at Jacksonville, a mini tour player and an instructor for a time before moving on from the game.
“He was here to see me this week and we have this thing on the range. I hit a few shots and turn around and look at him and I got a thumbs up, so I knew I was ready,” said the Paladin golfer.
Morlan put himself in position to challenge for the individual title with back to back 5-under par rounds of 67 on the Bulls Bay course.
When it came time to play the final round, Morlan trailed leader Alex Goff from Kentucky by 3-shots.
College golf is a team sport so having the leading individuals go head to head in a final round for medalist honors is somewhat rare.
Both the Paladins and the Wildcats were down the leader board from the eventual tournament team champion ETSU and runner-up New Mexico.
Kentucky and Furman were among four teams tied for sixth place. They were grouped with each other off the back nine, which meant the two individual leaders could go head to head.
The other golfers who might have made a run at the two fell behind and Morlan didn’t bother to check a leader board until number 17.
He knew he had to beat the golfer he was paired with for the win.
Both golfers birdied their first hole, but Goff doubled his third hole and bounced back with a birdie on his 4th hole.
Morlan took the lead at the turn when he birdied 3 of his last 5 holes to go 4 under for the day and 14 under for the tournament.
On the golfers second nine, Morlan and Goff each had three birdies by the sixth hole.
And then things got really interesting,
On his 15th hole, Morlan made a great save with a 2 iron out of fairway divot. He missed an eagle chance on the par 5 hole, but his birdie kept him in front.
On the next hole, a par 3, Morlan missed the green and carded his only bogey of the day. With two holes to play and tied, it got intense.
“I knew I had it in me, I’d been in situations like this before and I had confidence from playing well that I could get it done,” he said
Morlan hit his second shot on his 17th hole within 15 feet and made the birdie.
He landed a wedge shot close enough on 18 to make it two in a row.
Goff finished with two pars and a close match looked like it had a little more breathing room on the scoreboard as Morlan’s two birdies made up the winning margin. 198 to 200.
When Morlan was co-medalist for the first time this year at The Township Invitational, he never saw the golfer he shared the honors with until the awards ceremony.
His second co-medalist win was at the Furman Intercollegiate where he went head to head with Daniel Cheng of James Madison and came from behind at the start of the final round to register his second shared first place finish.
Since winning a tournament each way Morlan has enough experience to pick a favorite way.
“I liked being in the same group better. You can keep track of things. I knew Goff was a good player and he wasn’t going to give me anything so I had to go get it,” said Morlan.
The Hootie winner used to get to ride the Bull at Bulls Bay.
The bull was there, but Morlan had to settle for getting his award from Darius Rucker and the Blowfish instead of saddling up.
“He was fun to watch today,” said Furman coach Matt Davidson. “In terms of name recognition Will’s win at the Hootie is one of the best wins a Furman golfer has had. Standing there at the end and getting the trophy from the Blowfish made it pretty special,” said the Paladins coach.
In addition to a big win it also was a record shattering win for Morlan.
Morlan’s third win ties Hall of Fame golfer Brad Faxon and is the first to earn three wins in a season since Faxon.
His 18-under par gives Morlan the lowest tournament total in Furman golf history and the record for the Hootie tournament at Bulls Bay.
And not having to share the spotlight with a co-medalist for the first time since high school was also welcomed by the Paladin golfer from Alpharetta.
“I enjoyed both of my other wins, but being alone at the end is different and felt great to know I was able to get the win,” he said.
It was a week to remember and one to build on, with one regular season tournament left and then the SoCon Tournament and a possible NCAA Regional invitation in the future.
“I know right now I’m playing the best golf of my life. Every aspect of the game is working and I had fun and was able to take advantage of the opportunities. I’ve got a lot of confidence,” concluded Morlan.
As a team the Paladins finished in 10th place. The Gamecocks hosted the annual tournament named for some of South Carolina’s famous alums, USC finished tied for 8th.
Furman next plays April 10th at the Mason Rudolph championship hosted by Vanderbilt in Franklin, Tennessee and then goes to the SoCon Championship in Greensboro, Georgia starting on April 23.
Hootie at Bulls Bay Scoring https://results.golfstat.com/public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=player&tid=26823
Categories: + College Golf, Furman golf
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