Aug. 9, 2012
Cullowhee, N.C. - With the summer months grinding towards the fall and the return of collegiate athletics, Western Carolina's men's golfers continue to compete in various amateur tournaments. WCU had three golfers play in the North Carolina Amateur Match Play, while redshirt sophomore Collin Witiak returned to competitive action and Steven Smith continued play in Great Britain.
Here is a brief recap of some of the tournaments Catamount men's golfers have been involved in recent weeks this summer:
Poston Finishes Tied for Third at North Carolina Amateur Match Play
Western Carolina had three men's golfers compete among the 128-golfer field in the 2012 North Carolina Amateur Match Play Championship held at the Forest Oaks Country Club. Sophomore J.T. Poston led the trio of Catamounts at the event by finishing tied for third overall, advancing into the final four of the event.
The tournament featured two rounds of stroke play as qualifying rounds with the low 32 players advancing to the match play portion of the championship bracket.
Poston, a native of Hickory, N.C., shot an opening round of four-under, 68, to stand in a four-way tie for second before ending the stroke play portion of the event with a one-over, 73, for a 36-hole score of 141 to finish in a four-way tie for sixth, advancing to match play.
In his opening round of match play, Poston defeated Jeff Boyan, 2&1, before upending UNC Wilmington junior - and 2010-11 Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year - Payne McLeod, 1-up in the round of 16 to move into the final eight. Poston then advanced to the final four by defeating Clemson incoming freshman, Miller Capps, 4&3.
Poston fell to the eventual tournament champion Matt Crenshaw in the semifinals, 2&1, to end his run towards the crown. For Crenshaw, the match play championship was his fourth Carolinas Golf Association title of the year.
Joining Poston in the event were senior Trey White and sophomore Matthew Turner. White carded consecutive rounds of 72 and 73 to finish in a tie for 22nd to advance into match play. Another Hickory, N.C., native, White fell in his first round of match play, 4&3, concluding play on the 15th hole of the round.
Turner fired rounds of 75 and 76 to finish tied for 66th overall, missing out on the match play portion of the event.
Witiak, Smith Compete in Amateur Match Play
Coming off an injury that sidelined him most of the 2011-12 season, redshirt sophomore Collin Witiak was in action this summer in amateur match play in Minnesota at the 2012 Resorters Tournament held at the Alexandria Golf Club.
Witiak fired a qualifying score of 74 to be seeded 18th out of the 96 seeking a berth into the 32 golfer match play event. The Columbia, S.C., native then advanced to the final four in bracket play before eventually bowing out to third-seeded Jerry Rose in the semifinals. All told, Witiak was the lowest seed to advance to the final four round.
In his second round match against Marshall's Matt Bennett, Witiak used a couple of late wins to break a tie and take score the win, 2-up. Bennett battled back from a two-hole deficit after a couple of par wins on Nos. 13 and 14. However, Witiak shot par on No. 15 to regain the lead and birdied the 16th to move into the driver's seat with two to play. Witiak didn't let Bennett sneak back into it as he drained his par putt on 17 to halve the hole and end the match.
In the round of eight, Witiak broke what had been an even match through 15 holes by winning two of the final three holes over seventh-seeded Collin Lervick. With a par win on 16, Witiak put himself ahead while a par win on 18 ended it to secure his spot in the semifinals. Witiak recovered after witnessing his three-hole lead on the front disappear. Lervick chipped away at him with a birdie win on the sixth and a par win on No. 7 closed ground at the turn. Lervick then evened it back up on 11 with a birdie before Witiak was able to pull out the match win.
(Thanks to the Echo Press in Alexandria, Minn., for information on the 2012 Resorters Tournament)
Elsewhere, Steven Smith continued his summer play coming off the runner-up finish at the Boyd Quaich Championship at Saint Andrews. Smith competed in the Scottish Amateur July 30 through August 4 at the Royal Dornoch Golf Club in Sutherland.
However, the Kirknewton, Scotland, native fell in his opening round of match play, 2 and 1, to Scott Borrowman. The match finished on the 17th hole of the round.