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Panthers finish at 12-over, while Badenhorst takes medalist honors at five-under
PALM BAY, Fla. (Men’s Golf) – Florida Tech secured the 2012 Panther Invitational title despite carding a 16-over-par 304 in the third round Tuesday at The Majors Golf Club. The Panthers finished the tournament at 12-over (876) after shooting under par in the first two rounds.
“Round one was pretty phenomenal,” head coach Chris Saltmarsh said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better. Heading into the tournament, I spoke to the guys about needing and wanting to shoot under par. With it being our home course, I wanted us to shoot at least two rounds under par. We hit the goal too early and forgot to finish. Although we won, we have a lot to work on to get where we want to go, which is regionals and national championship play. We need to learn how to finish out the tournament. If we play like we did on day one in our next two tournaments, we’ll have a chance. If we finish like we did today, we’re going to lose.”
The field of eight teams and 56 individuals contended with breezy conditions on the final day. Of the participating institutions, three saw their team score decrease from the last round of day one and two jotted down their best single-round score of the tournament.
Saint Leo turned in its lowest score and the lowest score of the day with a seven-over 295 to place second at 45-over (909). Eckerd also shot a tournament-low, 17-over 305, in the third round to tie for third with Brevard Community College (933).
Tampa jotted down a 324 to finish in fifth place at 79-over (943). Hope College improved by one stroke from its second-round total with a 332 to come in sixth at 131-over (995). Taylor University shot a 347 over the final 18 holes to place seventh (1015). Murray State Community College fired a 320 and officially did not finish the tournament after three scores were counted in round two.
FIT placed three individuals in the top five, including freshman Ray Badenhorst who won his first collegiate tournament at five-under (211). Saint Leo’s Nick Brothers’ even-par 72 tied for the lowest score of the day and helped him finish second at even (216). FIT’s Christian Westhorpe came in third at five-over (221). Brevard Community College’s William Anderson placed fourth at six-over (222). FIT’s Patrick Sheedy rounded out the top five finishers with a final score of seven-over (223).
“My course knowledge and knowing where to leave the ball in the conditions we experienced today helped me,” Badenhorst said. “Obviously, hard work and practice also contributed to my play. I took a shot-by-shot approach as opposed to wondering what the score was. Shooting the 65 was a confidence booster because I really didn’t know I had it in me. Now that I’ve done it, it boosts my confidence. I prayed my whole way through the [third] round. I prayed last night, prayed this morning and even during the make-or-break moments during the round. God led me through.”
Badenhorst’s 211 is a new 54-hole program record. It surpasses Zach Potter’s previous record of 212, earned at the 2011 Matlock Collegiate Classic. Including his memorable day one, Badenhorst now owns FIT’s low round, 36-hole and 54-hole records.
“Ray’s play was outstanding,” Saltmarsh said. “I had a chance to talk with him for a little bit. I didn’t realize when he shot a 69 at the Matlock Classic that was the lowest he’s ever shot at a tournament. Shooting a 65 was another career-low, which is great for a freshman. He was nervous yesterday, but I told him to continue chasing it, and he went after it. He said he could have shot a 62 or better in round two. He was in the zone.”
As a team, the Panthers fell one stroke short of tying the program mark for 54-holes. During the 2005-06 season, FIT shot a program record 875 at the Spartan Invitational.
“I think we have ‘it’,” Saltmarsh added. “It’s just a matter of figuring it out and gutting it out, really. It was a good win for the seniors. Hopefully, we can finish the season out with one or two additional wins.”
The Panthers will now prepare for the Buccaneer Invitational April 2-3 at Normandy Shores Golf Club in Miami Beach, Fla.