Sapphire, N.C. - Posting the low round of both days of competition and placing three golfers inside the individual top five including both the medalist and runner-up, Western Carolina men's golf cruised to the 2016 Hummingbird Intercollegiate team championship on its home course, the Country Club of Sapphire Valley. WCU junior transfer Dylan MacQueen edged classmate Jackson Bishop by two strokes to claim top individual honors over the par-71, 6,767-yard course layout.
Western Carolina finished 20-strokes ahead of runner-up, No. 41 Eastern Kentucky, which entered the week as the only NCAA Division I men's golf program in the country with four tournament victories under its belt this fall. The Catamounts shot 558 while the Colonels posted rounds of 290 and 288 to finish at 578, a stroke ahead of third-place, Elon (579).
Rounding out the rest of the field, USC Beaufort (591) advanced two positions in the final standings on the final day of competition to finish fourth followed by High Point (592). Fellow mountain foe, Brevard College, finished sixth at 600, followed by Cardinal Stritch (601), Austin Peay (602), and Southern Wesleyan (611).
WCU's team score of 558 (278-280) ranks tied for the second-best team score in tournament history, matching Vanderbilt from 2008 which finished second to the event record holder, UCF, as the Golden Knights carded a 557 back in 2008.
Tuesday's victory marked just the second-time in the 11-year history of the event that the host Catamounts had hoisted the team hardware -- but it was among the sweetest as it represented the first team championship for second-year head coach Tim Eckberg, who is a program alum.
MacQueen claimed individual medalist honors with a two-day score of 134 (67-67) which also represented the second-best 36-hole score in event history. He matched David Johnson of UCF who shot 134 back in 2008, both trailing Vanderbilt's Hudson Johnson who still holds the tournament two-round record of 133 (2008).
MacQueen is the first WCU men's golfer to win the top spot at the home event since 2013. He joined a short list of Catamounts to claim individual medalist honors at the home tournament that includes J.T. Poston (2013) and Andres Cuenca (2007). Former Catamount Keith Tyburski finished atop the leader board in 2004 before being named the runner-up on the second playoff hole.
A product of Woodstock, Ontario, Canada, MacQueen led the 36-hole tournament with 12 birdies while also pacing the 58-golfer field in par-4 (4-under, 3.82) and par-5 (5-under, 4.17) scoring. On Tuesday, MacQueen made the turn to the home stretch at 2-under par after posting a pair of birdies over his first nine holes. On the back, birdies on the par-4 12th and par-5 14th left him at 4-under for the day. The lone blemish on his final round came with a bogey on the par-4 15th, closing with a birdie on No. 17 and a par on No. 18 where he was met by his teammates just off of the final green.
Bishop finished three strokes in arrears of his teammate, following his opening round 4-under par, 67, with a 1-under par, 70, on Tuesday for a score of 137. Posting four birdies including three-consecutive in the middle of his front nine, Bishop made the turn to the back nine at 3-under par following a bogey on the par-4 ninth. A second bogey on No. 11 was countered by his fifth birdie a hole later leaving the Gainesville, Ga., native poised to finish at 3-under. However, back-to-back bogies to conclude the day left him three strokes off the final pace.
Sophomore Mark David Johnson was a third Catamount to place inside the final individual top five, just missing a podium finish for the Purple & Gold. The St. Simons Island, Ga., product was steady through the 36-hole event, carding consecutive rounds of even-par, 71, for a two-day total of 142, finishing in a tie for fourth place. Johnson finished with a team-best 25 pars in the tournament.
Rounding out WCU's scoring five were junior Bright Julamool who advanced 10 spots in the final round with a 1-over par, 72, for a two-day total of 148 (76-72), and sophomore Lawson King who placed in a tie for 33rd overall at 152 (73-79). Julamool joined Johnson with six total birdies.
Playing unattached as an individual, senior Evan Smith was among the biggest movers over the final round, climbing 16 spots to finish tied for 28th with a two-round score of 151. Sophomore Bradley Durand, also competing as an individual, finished tied for 51st, moving up six spots on the last day.
The Hummingbird Intercollegiate marks the end of the fall portion of WCU's 2016-17 schedule. The team will now turn its attention to winter conditioning ahead of opening its spring calendar in mid-February at The Farms Collegiate in San Diego, Calif.