Coach Randy Wylie discusses his team's victory at the South Atlantic Conference Championships.
VIDEO: Randy Wylie Interview
SALISBURY, N.C. – A chip-in by Anthony Marcinelli (Knoxville, Tenn.) on the fourth playoff hole of the South Atlantic Conference Championships propelled the Carson-Newman men's golf team past the Coker Cobras and allowed the Eagles to capture their first conference title since 2014 on Tuesday at the Country Club of Salisbury in Salisbury, N.C.
The two teams ended the scheduled 27 holes with matching scores of 431 after the Cobras made up five shots during the final round and both squads moved into a sudden death playoff. On the first hole, a birdie putt by Brady Childers (Granite Falls, N.C.) helped C-N stay even with Coker. Dalton Reese (Warrenton, Ga.) came up clutch on the third, sinking an eight-foot par putt that allowed the Eagles to keep pace and set the stage for Marcinelli's heroics.
"Everybody contributed to this win," said coach Randy Wylie. "It was unbelievable effort. Anthony's shot was incredible. [Coker] had the advantage on the hole at that time and when he made that, it put all the pressure on them. It was a great shot, but Brady's birdie putt was also huge and so was Dalton's par. It was a true team victory."
For Marcinelli, his tournament clinching chip-in capped a breakout performance in which he earned the first top 10 finish of his career. His one-over 107 tied the freshman for fifth. He matched the tourney's best stroke average on par fours at 3.82 and also tied for second on par threes at even while piling up 13 pars, tied for the sixth most in Salisbury.
Tom Forster (Oundle, England) put an exclamation point on an exceptional first year in Mossy Creek with another day of outstanding play. He had three holes remaining on his scorecard from Sunday and finished up with two pars sandwiched around a birdie on the 17th. When the freshman returned to action later in day, he fired off nine consecutive pars for a final total of a one-over 107 that allowed him to jump from 15th into a tie for fifth. This makes four straight competitions Forster has earned a spot in the top 10.
Joining his teammates in sharing fifth place was Reece, the eighth time in his career he's earned a top 10 finish. Playing in possibly his final event in the Blue and Orange, he matched Forster's Tuesday score with an even-par 35 of his own. Twice on the final day, he followed bogeys by immediately birdieing the next hole.
It was a tough day for Jake Headrick (Maryville, Tenn.), who started the afternoon by closing out round one with a bogey and two pars. He kicked off round two with a birdie, but totaled four bogeys and double on his final six holes. The sophomore departed Salisbury tied for 20th with a five-over 111.
Childers placed 59th with a 14-over 120 and shot +4 over the final nine, but he finished strong with five straight pars to help his team force a playoff. His was at his best during that playoff, when his birdie putt kept the Eagles alive.
Wanjoo Lee from Coker topped the individual leaderboard with a two-under 104. He beat out Ben Thompson and Carlos Leandro from Newberry and Sam Wimbrow from Queens (N.C.) by two strokes.
With this triumph, the Eagles earn an automatic bid to the NCAA's South/Southeast Regional competition, which will be held from May 8th – 10th at The Shoals Golf Club's Fighting Joe Golf Course in Muscle Shoals, Ala. For news and updates regarding the program, visit cneagles.com.