Heathrow, Fla. - Sparked by a career-low round of 5-under par 66 on Tuesday, Western Carolina sophomore Mark David Johnson held off Ohio's Peyton White and his Catamount teammate Bright Julamool to claim individual medalist honors as WCU took home the team championship at the Frontier Secure Intercollegiate, hosted by Stetson at the par-71, 6,846-yard Heathrow Country Club.
The Catamounts had all five scorers post top 20 finishes including three inside the top five with medalist Johnson, second runner-up Julamool who also posted a podium finish, and Lawson King in a tie for fifth-place. Johnson's career-best, three-round score of 206 (72-68-66) is tied for fourth in program history, matching tournament scores turned in by former Catamount greats in J.T. Poston and Matt Cook.
Collectively, the Catamounts posted the second-best 54-hole score in school history at the event, finishing with a three-round total of 844 (290-275-279) -- just one stroke shy of the all-time best 54-hole tournament score of 843 carded at the Xavier Invitational back in the fall of 2007.
Johnson's individual title is the first of his career and the second by a Catamount this season after Dylan MacQueen took home top honors at last semester's Hummingbird Intercollegiate at the Country Club of Sapphire Valley. It is also WCU's second team championship of the season coupled with the Hummingbird Intercollegiate crown.
"What a great team effort this week," said second-year head coach Tim Eckberg of his squad's second victory of the season, first of the spring. "All five of our guys stepped up big. We battled hard all week and played great, smart, team golf."
He added, "I'm so proud of Mark David. He played incredible this week and is well deserving of this title -- I doubt it's the last individual win in his WCU career. He has a load of talent and it's just fun to watch him start to realize it. Bright (Julamool) and Lawson (King) both came up huge for us this week as well. As those two continue to develop, the sky is the limit as to what this team can accomplish."
A native of St. Simons Island, Ga., Johnson had only one blemish on his final round scorecard -- a bogey on the par-3 12th. Otherwise, the second-year striker came home with 11 pars to give him 37 in the tournament -- which was tied for the second-most in the field -- and six birdies to give him 11 over the two-day event.
Even through five holes on Tuesday, Johnson carded three-straight birdies in making the turn to the back nine at 3-under par. A fourth birdie left him at four-under before the bogey on No. 12. He finished with four pars and two additional birdies for the career-best round of 66, tied for the fourth-best single round in program history.
Bright Julamool saved his best for last, shooting his tournament-low round of 3-under par, 68, over the final 18 holes. With three birdies and an eagle to counter a bogey on the par-3 fourth, Julamool made the turn to the back nine at 4-under par. The Bangkok, Thailand, product remained at 4-under until a triple-bogey on the par-3 12th dropped him back to 1-under. He finished the round with four pars and two more birdies to shoot 68 and post a three-round score of 210.
Julamool led WCU -- and finished second overall in the field -- with 14 birdies, matching his teammate Lawson King and two others with two eagles over the 54 holes.
King, who sat in a tie for first place after 36 of the scheduled 54 holes on Monday, slipped into fifth on Tuesday after a final round score of 73 to finish the event at even-par, 213. The Gainesville, Ga., golfer countered six bogies with four birdies to shoot two-over on the final day.
Rounding out WCU's scoring five were juniors Dylan MacQueen in a tie for 13th at 217 (77-68-72) and Jackson Bishop, tied for 19th at 220 (75-70-75). MacQueen recorded 31 pars and 10 birdies in the tournament while Bishop posted 11 birdies to accompany 28 pars.
Western Carolina claimed the team championship by seven strokes over Jacksonville State (861) with Florida Gulf Coast (873), Morehead State (857), and a two-way tie for fifth between Florida Atlantic and Keiser University (878) closing out the top five.
White of Ohio University was two-strokes in arrears of Johnson at 208, with Julamool shooting 210 to finish four strokes off the pace.
Western Carolina will again head south March 10-13 for a pair of tournaments in succession. The Catamounts will take place in the highly-competitive, three-round Seminole Intercollegiate, hosted by Florida State at the Southwood Golf Club in Tallahassee, Fla., March 10-13. WCU then ventures closer to home with the Southern Intercollegiate, hosted by Georgia at the Athens Country Club in Georgia.