Florida Tech Men’s Golf Team Wins First SSC Championship
No. 5 Panthers Tie School Record
En Route to League Championship
DAVIE, Fla. — Three Florida Tech men’s golfers placed in the Top 10 individually and the No. 5 Panthers won their first ever Sunshine State Conference championship Tuesday at the Grande Oaks Golf Club.
The men’s golf’s conference title is the 33rd SSC championship in Florida Tech history.
Florida Tech totaled a 19-under par 833 (278-287-268), tying a FIT school record and the SSC tournament record set by Barry in 2014 at Lake Jovita. The Crimson & Gray’s final round score of 16-under (268) stands as the greatest team single round score in SSC tournament history and program history.
In regards to his team’s performance in the final round, head coach Chris Saltmarsh summed it up in one word – “Wow”.
“It’s perhaps the one word I’ve been texted, responded to or congratulated with all day, and that would be wow,” said Saltmarsh. “Just an incredible round the guys put together. They were relentless in their pursuit to win and it showed. It can only be described in that one word. What they did today was absolutely spectacular.
“It was one of those times where I could just sit back and watch the amazing display put on by our guys,” Saltmarsh stated. “The guys got off to a great start in the front nine and when we made the turn at 12, the guys just took off from there. It was just one of those things when I had a great seat to the show.”
No. 2 Florida Southern, the defending SSC and nation champion, finished second at 15-under 837 (282-280-275) took second while No. 7 Barry placed third at 13-under 839 (280-284-275).
Max O’Hagan and Han Xue both earned spots on the All-SSC teams for finishing within the Top-5 in the tournament.
Before even starting the final round of the championship on Tuesday, the Panthers first had to complete their second round, which was suspended due to heavy rains on Monday.
The second round was the worst of the tournament for FIT as the team scored a 3-over 287 and headed into the final 18 holes in third place (-3) behind Florida Southern (-6) and Barry (-4). However, the Panthers picked up their play in the final round and the rest was history as the team earned its first conference championship.
“You could say the delay in play was a blessing in disguise,” said Saltmarsh. “We did not play well early in the second round and made a couple of mistake just before the horn sounded to suspend play. Today when we finally got back on the course, we were refocused and just pushed our way through and moved on to the final 18 holes.”
O’Hagan tied for third overall, recording an 8-under 205 (68-72-65) to become one of 32 golfers in history to finish Top-5 two or more times at an SSC Men’s Golf Championship. The sophomore ended in a tie for fifth during last year’s conference championship hosted by Florida Tech at Duran Golf Club. O’Hagan led the field with 16 birdies over the 54 holes.
O’Hagan’s pair of par-or-better rounds this week gives him 21 for the 2017-18 campaign, which surpasses the previous single-season record held by Ray Badenhorst (20) since 2014-15.
Xue placed fifth with a total of 7-under 206 (70-72-64). The sophomore’s score of 64 (-7) in the final round ties him for the lowest round in SSC history and is the best 18-hole performance since 2009. The 64 is also the second lowest score in Florida Tech history and is one stroke back of Xue’s own record of 63 set earlier this season at The Griffin Invitational.
Gaelen Trew, a senior, finished at 5-under 208 (72-69-67) and in a tie for seventh. Trew was one of just two golfers in the tournament to hit more than one eagle, ending with two over the three rounds.
Ali Thurlow posted a score of 2-over 215 (68-75-72) to place 19th overall. The junior tied for the tournament-lead with 39 total pars and also had seven birdies during the three days.
Shanren Brienen tied for 28th with a 5-over 218 (72-74-72) at the par-71, 6,725-yard course. The junior averaged a score of 3-under par on the par -5 holes at Grande Oaks.
Florida Tech is back in action when it competes in the NCAA South Super Regional on May 7-9 at Rock Barn Golf Club in Conover, North Carolina.