Strong finish lands Chants in top 10 but no NCAA bid

The Coastal Carolina men’s golf team shot a final-round, 7-under par 281 – its third-best round of the season – at the NCAA Kissimmee Regional. However, the Chanticleers could not overcome its two-day deficit, were not able to move up the leaderboard and placed 10th with a 54-hole score of 859 at the par-72, 7,154-yard Watson Course at Reunion Resort.

After yesterday’s round, first year CCU head coach Jim Garren said his team would need to have a special day. The team in fact wrapped its impressive 2018 campaign in fine fashion. Also, Coastal led the 14-team field with 178 pars over three days – four better than next closest (Vanderbilt and South Florida).

Luis Ruiz and Morgan Deneen each shot a 4-under par 68 as both carded five birdies, one bogey and 13 pars. States Fort posted an even-par round of 72 and Thadd Obecny II was 1-over par. Andrew Roy, who was thrown into the lineup for the final round, birdied his final hole to shoot a 3-over 75 despite a double bogey.

Florida won the NCAA Regional by 12 shots while the Gators, host team UCF, North Carolina, Vanderbilt and Kent State will advance to the NCAA Championship by virtue of their top five finish. George Cunningham of Arizona will also advance to the national championship as he was the top individual not on one of the top five teams.

Ruiz jumped 20 spots in the standings and finished in a tie for 14th with a three-day total of 4-under par 212 (74-70-68). It is his fifth top 20 finish of the season and, after posting rounds of 70-68 over the last two day, the junior finishes with team-best 15 rounds of par or better. Ruiz opened with four pars before having birdies on three of his next five holes. Three hole later, he dropped a shot before answering with birdies on two of his next three. Ruiz then had pars on his final three holes for a 68 – his team-best ninth round in the 60’s this season. His season scoring average of 72.69 ranks 11th-best in school history while his current career scoring average of 73.82 ranks ninth.

Deneen, the 2018 Sun Belt Champion, is no stranger to low rounds either as he posted rounds in the 60’s in three of his last five of the season. He finished the NCAA Regional in a tie for 26th (climbing 20 places on the leaderboard) with a 2-under par total of 214 (75-71-68). Deneen started on hole 13 and quickly got to 1-uder with a birdie on his second hole. He fell back to even after a bogey on his fourth hole. After three pars, Deneen caught fire with back-to-back birdies on holes 2 and 3 as well as accomplishing the feat on holes 7 and 8. He closed his round with four pars for his 68. Deneen finishing his improbable season with 14 rounds of par or better, including six rounds in the 60’s.

Fort fell nine spots to tie for 32nd despite being the only Chant to shoot par or better in all three rounds. He shot a 1-under par 215 (72-71-72). Fort started strong as he had four birdies through his first 11 holes, but finished with four bogeys to shoot an even-par 72.

Obecny had a pretty clean round on Wednesday, shooting a 1-over par 73 thanks to two bogeys, one birdie and 16 pars. Overall, he tied for 58th with a 5-over par 221 (72-76-73). He finishes his senior season with 14 rounds of par or better, five rounds in the 60’s and five top 20 finishes – posting just one top 20 in his first three years combined. Obecny also finishes his CCU career with a career scoring average of 73.90, 10th-best in school history.

Coastal Carolina, the 2018 Sun Belt Champion, shot below par in the final two rounds and finished the season with 15 rounds of par or better to rank as the second-best total in school history while the team’s scoring average of 289.81 is the third-best in school history. The Chants set a CCU record for best par 3 scoring in a season while its 523 birdies in a season is the fourth most on the CCU seasonal list

Coastal made its 14 NCAA Regional this season and its first since 2013.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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