Chants surge to third-place finish at SeaBest Invitational

Coastal Carolina had three golfers finish among the individual top 20 and shot 302 Tuesday for a 54-hole score of 898 to finish third in the 15-team field at the SeaBest Invitational, hosted by Jacksonville University at the par 72, 6,977-yard PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.

First day leader and 26th-ranked Tennessee held on to win the event with a 54-hole score of 15-over par 879 (300-279-300). Texas A&M, ranked 30th, finished four strokes behind the Vols and shot 883 for runner-up honors. The Chants were able to hold off fourth-place East Carolina, fifth-place Winthrop and sixth-place East Tennessee to secure the program’s third top 3 finish in its fifth event of the season.

Ben Wheeler led the Chants, finishing tied for sixth for his second top 10 finish of his career – both coming this season. The sophomore started the event with an 81, but came through with a 68 in round two and a 1-over par 73 Tuesday to finish with a three-round score of 6-over par 222. Tuesday, Wheeler was 3-under through 12 holes, posting birdies on holes 8, 9 and 10, before a double bogey on the par 3 13th and getting bogeys on holes 14 and 18 for his 1-over round.

Andrew Dorn had an up-and down day, leading to his 2-over 74. The sophomore finished tied for ninth, his best career outing, with a 7-over 223 (73-76-74).  (Dorn’s previous best finish was a tie for 17th this past fall.) He opened by carding bogeys on two of his first four holes. However, he finished his outward nine with birdies on holes 7 and 9 to stand at even par at the turn. On his back nine, Dorn did not record a single par, getting four birdies (holes 11, 13, 14 and 16), four bogeys (holes 12, 15, 17 and 18) and a double bogey on the par 4 10th hole.

Roberto Ballesteros tied for 16th with a 10-over 226 (78-70-78), while Sebastian Soderberg finished in a tie for 41st with a 17-over 233 (81-75-77). Ballesteros recorded 11 pars and offset two bogeys with two birdies, but suffered three double bogeys for his final round 78. Soderberg had an adventurous start, getting two double bogeys, three bogeys, one birdie and a par over his first seven holes. The senior settled down, reeling off six pars and a birdie before trading a bogey for a birdie on holes 15 and 16 for his 5-over 77.

Coastal Carolina will return to Ponte Verda in three weeks to play in the annual John Hayt Collegiate, played Feb. 24-26 at Sawgrass Country Club. The Chanticleers will host the General Hackler Championship Mar. 11-12 at TPC of Myrtle Beach.

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