CCU loses final-round lead, finishes fourth in Big South

ccugolf-wheelerThe Coastal Carolina men’s golf team blew a four-stroke lead by shooting a final-round 299 and finished the 2015 Big South Championship in fourth place with an even-par, 54-hole score of 864.

The league also announced on Tuesday its postseason honors with Chanticleer seniors Andrew Dorn and Ben Wheeler being named All-Big South. And, for the second consecutive season, Wheeler (3.3 GPA in finance) was voted to the Big South All-Academic Team.

Dorn is the 11th Chanticleer to be named All-Big South at least three times, while Wheeler is a two-time honoree.

Coastal Carolina was the 36-hole leader, but three teams shot par or better in the final round to pass the Chanticleers. Charleston Southern recorded a final-round, 10-under par 278 to win its third men’s golf title and first since 2003 with a three-round total of 11-under 853 (286-289-278). Runner-up Campbell was 5-under par Tuesday and finished the championship with a 5-under 859. Winthrop turned in an even par 288 in the final round and placed third with a 54-hole score of 861.

The Chanticleers had three golfers finish among the top 20, including Dorn (9th), Wheeler (11th-t) and Alfredo Ruiz (15th-t).

Dorn’s ninth-place finish gives the senior three top 10 finishes at the Big South Championship, tying for fourth in 2013 and tying for seventh in 2014.. However, his three-round total of 213 was his best score at the Championship. He was 2-under par through five holes in the final round but suffered four bogeys over his final 13 holes to card his 2-over par 74. Overall, Dorn turned in rounds of 70-69-74 for a 54-hole total of 3-under par 213.

Wheeler tied for 11th with a 54-hole score of 1-over par 215 (69-73-73). The senior turned in 16 pars with two bogeys and a birdie in the final round. Last year’s Big South Champion finished among the league’s top 20 in each of his four years as a Chanticleer as he tied for 18th as a freshman, tied for seventh as a sophomore and claiming medalist honors as a junior. The 215 was just four strokes off last year’s winning score and marks his second-best 54-hole score at the Championship.

Ruiz, a sophomore making his first appearance at the Big South Championships, tied for 15th (70-71-76=217). He had 13 pars in the final round with three bogeys and a double bogey before finishing his round with a birdie on the par 5, 18th hole.

Ryan Carpenter tied for 24th (72-72-76=220). After back-to-back rounds at even par, the sophomore opened his final round with a birdie and closed the round with a birdie with four bogeys and a double in between.  Coastal’s contingent was capped by Olle Widegren. The sophomore placed 44th (75-72-87=234).

Dorn and Wheeler, who each earned at-large berths to last year’s NCAA Regional, will hope to close their collegiate careers in the postseason. Monday, The NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Selections Announcement will air live on Monday, May 4, on Golf Channel at 10 am during Morning Drive.

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