Coastal rides momentum into final day of match play

Morgan Deneen (Tustin, Calif.) followed his record-setting performance Monday (63) with another impressive round Tuesday (67) to win medalist honors by seven strokes at the 2018 Sun Belt Men’s Golf Championship with a league-record score of 203 (73-63-67).

As a team, Coastal Carolina earned a 26-stroke victory in the stroke play portion of the Sun Belt Men’s Golf Championship and will be the top seed for Wednesday’s match play final four.

Coastal will face fourth-seed South Alabama in one semifinal while UT Arlington and Georgia Southern will play the other. The winners of the semifinals Wednesday morning will turn around to play for the 2018 Sun Belt Championship Wednesday afternoon and determine which team will earn the league’s automatic berth to an NCAA Regional.

While Deneen was conference champion, the star for Coastal Carolina in the final round was States Fort. The sophomore, who shot a 80 in the opening round, finished in a tie for third after a 67 in round two Monday and a round-three best score of 65 Tuesday. Fort was 1-under par for the championship, carding a 212.

Deneen, who additionally earns an automatic berth to an NCAA Regional with his conference title, and Fort were both named to the Sun Belt Championship All-Tournament Team. Also, Coastal Carolina was recognized by the league as the team has achieved at least a 3.0 while Daniel Overas and Luis Ruiz were named to the Sun Belt Academic Honor Roll.

“We had another really good day on the course today,” said first year head coach Jim Garren. “Morgan backed up a great round with another great round today. Same goes with States. It is always nice to validate good play. One of the goals today was to have low round again and we did that.”

“As great as the last three days have been, a new golf tournament starts tomorrow,” Garren added. “We have to look past what just happened and focus on South Alabama. They have a good golf team and played very well today. It’ll be a tough match and we are going to have to have all five guys on their game.”

The Chanticleers were the only team to finish stroke play under par, shooting a 7-under par 845 (294-275-276), at the par-71, 6,887-yard Raven Golf Club at Sandestin. This was Coastal’s first 54-hole team win since claiming the 2013 Big South Championship. The 845 total by the Chants is the fourth-best, 54-hiole score in school history.

Deneen’s 10-under par 203 (73-63-67) not only is a Sun Belt record, but it ties for the fourth-best, 54-hole score in school history. Deneen started the final round with a three stroke lead and did not let a pair of bogeys (one on his 2nd hole and one on the 18th) stop him from setting a Sun Belt record for 54 holes. He reeled off six birdies (holes 3, 5, 8, 10, 13 and 14). With his 11 birdies in the second round, Deneen posted 20 for the championship, five better than the next closest.

Photo courtesy of Sun Belt Conference

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