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Samford Wins Hummingbird Intercollegiate; WCU Rallies to Second Place

True freshman Tyler Lail led Western Carolina with his career-best finish - tied for fourth - at the 2012 Hummingbird Intercollegiate concluded Sunday at the Country Club of Sapphire Valley. (Photo by Mark Haskett)

Nov. 4, 2012

2012 Hummingbird Intercollegiate Final Results Get Acrobat Reader

Sapphire, N.C. - Paced by the event's individual medalist, senior Casey O'Toole, Samford led wire-to-wire to win the 2012 Hummingbird Intercollegiate, hosted by Western Carolina at the par-71, 6,767-yard Country Club of Sapphire Valley. The Bulldogs placed three golfers inside the final top 10 finishers, cruising to a 12-stroke victory with a two-day total of 570.

The host Catamounts rallied from sixth place after Saturday's opening round by carding the lowest team round on Sunday, finishing tied for the runner-up spot with Belmont at 582. WCU trimmed 14 strokes off its opening round to make its run to near the top of the leader board while the Bruins were 10-strokes off their opening round 286, shooting 296 on Sunday.

It is the second-straight year - and the fourth-time in tournament history - that a team from the Southern Conference has won the tournament team championship as Appalachian State claimed the 2011 honors.

Gardner-Webb finished fourth at 585, just ahead of the two-way tie for fifth between South Carolina contenders, Francis Marion and Wofford at 589. SoCon-foes Elon (592) and Appalachian State (597) finished seventh and eighth, respectively, with nationally-ranked Division III Guilford College moving three spots to ninth with a two-round score of 598. Rounding out the field was Army (600) in 10th-place, followed by IPFW (602), High Point (606) and Colgate (624).

Samford's O'Toole played the front nine at two-under par before coasting into the clubhouse with an even-par along the back nine to shoot his second-straight score of 69, finishing the event at four-under, 138. Gardner-Webb teammates Daniel Kim and first-round leader, Daley Byles, finished tied for the runner-up position at one-under par, 141, for the event. Western Carolina's Tyler Lail advanced five spots in the final standings to post a career-best finish, tied with Samford's Zac Hughes and Ashton Van Horne from Belmont for fourth place.

O'Toole, Hughes and Belmont's Ted Moon led the tournament with 10 birdies apiece. A combined 12 different golfers scored an Eagle during tournament play with WCU's Kyle Wilson and Brent McKenzie both scoring two Eagles over the two-day affair.

Lail, a true freshman from Conover, N.C., paced the Catamount side by twice shooting his career-low round of 71. In just his third collegiate event, Lail recorded a team and career-best fourth-place showing. On Sunday, Lail was even par through eight holes before a double-bogey on the par-4 ninth had him make the turn at two-over. He closed his round with seven pars and birdies on the par-4 12th and par-5 14th to get back even for the day.

Redshirt senior Kyle Wilson matched Lail's final round even-par, advancing nine spots in the finishing order into a five-way tie for 14th for the tournament. Despite two bogies on his front nine, Wilson made the turn at one-under par after his second Eagle of the tournament and a birdie on the seventh hole. The Mount Airy, N.C., native had an up-and-down back nine, though, scoring just two pars with four bogies and three birdies to finish his round at 71, 145 for the event.

Sophomore J.T. Poston carded the team's lowest round of the two-day event on Sunday, shooting a two-under, 69, to match the lowest individual round of the final day. Poston moved up 18 spots, finishing tied for 19th overall. A native of Hickory, N.C., who was ranked 62nd in the nation according to the latest GolfStat report, Poston scored five birdies against three bogies for his 69 - his fourth round in the sixties this fall.

Rounding out the Catamount side was senior Steven Smith, tied for 36th at 151, and junior Jack Walsh in a tie for 51st at 154. Smith was five-strokes better on Sunday, shooting two-over 73, countering six bogies with four birdies. Walsh scored five bogies on the front nine, three on the back with one birdie on the par-4 10th hole.

Playing unattached as individuals for WCU, redshirt sophomore Collin Witiak moved up 28 spots in the final standings into a tie for 22nd by shooting two-under, 69, on Sunday. Witiak had six birdies to counter a pair of bogies and one double-bogey in his final round. Junior Greg Bunner shot 79 on Sunday to finish tied for 63rd (156) while Matthew Turner was tied for 66th (157). Senior Trey White finished tied for 76th overall with a two-day total of 165.

With the conclusion of the Hummingbird Intercollegiate so comes the close of the fall portion of Western Carolina's 2012-13 schedule. The Catamount men finished inside the top 10 in all five events of the fall, thrice placing inside the top five including Sunday's seasonal-best runner-up finish. The squad finished the fall with an average team round score of 292.36.

WCU returns to the links in mid-February of 2013 at the Wexford Intercollegiate, hosted by Francis Marion at the Wexford Plantation at Hilton Head, S.C.