April 15, 2014
Spartanburg, S.C. - Western Carolina junior J.T. Poston earned his 19th top ten and his 12th top five finish of his career after claiming second place following a chip-off at the 26th Coca-Cola Wofford Invitational at the par-72, 6,648 yard Country Club of Spartanburg after the final 18-holes of play Tuesday. The Catamounts slipped a spot in the final round of the 54-hole event to finish in 13th place out of the 15-team field.
The Hickory, N.C. native, carded a final round score of two-under par, 70, to finish in a five-way tie for second place with Julien Brun fom TCU, Andrew Novak from Wofford and Gustav Burenstam and Stephane Dubois from Lamar at 208. Poston took home the second place trophy after his chip-off attempt finished closest to the pin.
Poston, who was tied for seventh entering the final round after scores of 70 and 68 in the first two rounds, opened play Tuesday with a birdie on the par-5, 17th hole. After a string of five straight pars, Poston moved to two-under with a birdie on the par-5, fifth hole. Following a par at the par-3, sixth hole, he bookended two bogies at hole seven and hole nine around a par at the par-3 eighth hole. Poston regrouped birding the par-4, 10th hole before finishing with four consecutive pars for his two-under round.
In eight events this season, the Ben Hogan Award Watch Lister, has recorded six top five finishes and eight top ten finishes. Poston lowered his Southern Conference leading stroke average on the season to 70.11 following the event. He is on pace to finish the season with best stroke average -- with a minimum of 15 rounds -- in program history. Poston also moved into the top spot on the individual career stroke average ranking after lowering his career average down to 72.03 surpassing Matt Cook's mark of 72.11 from 2005-08.
Tyler Lail, who entered play Tuesday tied for 44th, struggled through a round of 77 after carding rounds of 75 and 71 on day one to finish tied for 53rd after a 54-hole score of 223. Lail opened play with a bogey on the par-4, 16th hole setting the tone for his seven bogies on the day. The sophomore from Conover, N.C. did birdie the par-5, 17th hole and the par-5, fifth hole. Matthew Turner shot his third straight round of 76 to end with a 228 and tied for 70th. Turner managed two birdies and an eagle on the par-5 first hole, but struggled with six bogies and a double bogey.
Redshirt junior Colin Witiak and freshman Nont Panayanggool rounded out the Catamount scoring five with rounds of 81 and 79 respectively. Witiak finished tied for 72nd with a 54-hole score of 229, while Panayanggool ended in 83rd after a three-round score of 237.
Elon's John Somers finished as the event's individual medalist after a 10-under par, 206, after rounds of 65, 68 and 73.
As a team, the Purple & Gold finished in 13th place after a 54-hole score of 886. The Catamounts 302 in the final round was ten strokes higher than their first and second round score of 292. WCU's 886 was its best three-round score in its spring tournaments and third best score of the 2013-14 season.
Lamar won the event with a tournament 54-hole record setting performance of 833. The Cardinals also set the tournament's relation to par record finishing at 31 strokes under par. Their 276 in the final round to claim the top spot and overcome an 11-stroke deficit ending into the last day also set a new tournament low third-round score. Elon, 837 (-27), and host Wofford, 840, (-24) also finished under the old 54-hole mark finishing in second and third respectively.
Western Carolina ends its season at the 2014 Southern Conference Championship at the National Golf Club in Pinehurst, N.C. April 20 through April 22.