SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. — The Railsplitters entered Tuesday’s final round of the 2014 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Men’s Golf Championship looking to rally from four shots back to defend its 2013 tournament crown, but a disappointing 35-over 323 dropped Lincoln Memorial to fourth in the final standings.
The Railsplitters carded rounds of 305, 306 and 323 to finish at 70-over par among the 12-team, 61-golfer field at the Sevierville Golf Club’s River Course, a 7,054-yard, par-72.
Entrenched in far from favorable weather conditions with temperatures hovering in the mid-30s with gusting winds and snowy/rainy precipitation, the Railsplitters were unable to pick up any steam after a rough start. As a team, the Railsplitters went without a birdie on the front nine, recording four double bogeys or worse and 21 bogeys on that half of the course. The Railsplitters only finished with four total birdies in the final round, while only one player broke 80.
Carson-Newman weathered the storm for the SAC Championship title, clawing from four shots behind with a 314 on Tuesday to claim a one-shot victory over Wingate, who finished at 926 for the event. Four teams finished within 10 shots of the lead as Newberry was third at 931, Lincoln Memorial was fourth at 934 and Tusculum was fifth at 935.
Sophomore Connor Froning followed up his 2013 SAC Championship medalist performance by carding rounds of 75, 74 and 80 to finish with a 13-over par total of 229, earning a share of sixth place along with SAC Championship All-Tournament second team laurels. Froning struggled through Tuesday’s opening nine with a 6-over 42, but he bounced back with a 2-over 38 on the way into the clubhouse.
Junior Braden Galyon, an All-SAC first team selection, was the only Railsplitter to break 80 in Tuesday’s round, carding a 5-over 77 to earn a share of 12th place. Galyon was responsible for two of LMU’s four birdies on Tuesday, sinking a four on the par-5 10th hole and the par-5 18th hole. Galyon rolled in a pair of 77s around a 79 on Monday.
All-SAC honorable mention pick Tre Mullins rounded out the SAC Championship in 20th place with two 77s followed by an 11-over 83 on Tuesday. Mullins’ round was derailed, like Kurtis Campbell’s, by a shaky start as he went bogey, bogey, double bogey, double bogey on the first four holes. Mullins was 21-over par for the event.
Campbell was 6-over par through the first five holes, capping the final round with a 15-over 87. Campbell fell to 25th in the individual standings with a 23-over total of 239.
Junior Rand Wasson — the SAC Player of the Year — recorded his third consecutive 11-over 83, rounding out a disappointing tournament in 47th place. Wasson did not card his first birdie of the tournament until Tuesday’s 10th hole as the Norris, Tenn., native was 33-over par in the three-day event.
The Railsplitters, who were ranked 10th in the most recent NCAA Southeast Region poll, will await an at-large bid to the 2014 NCAA South/Southeast Super Regional, which begins on May 5 in Savannah, Ga.