Braselton, Ga. – The Stetson Hatters saved their best golf for the final day of the 2014 Atlantic Sun Conference Championship Tournament and moved up two spots on the final leaderboard.
The Hatters posted a final round score of 301 on Tuesday to move past both Florida Gulf Coast and Northern Kentucky to finish eighth in the 10-team field. The 301 tied for the fifth lowest team score of the day at The Legends Course at Chateau Elan.
“I am proud of them,” Stetson coach Larry Watson said. “We passed NKU when Dustin birdied the last hole, and that was something to see.”
Watson said the players came to the course on Tuesday with a different attitude.
“I think they decided to go out and play the golf course with confidence instead of being afraid of it,” Watson said. “The thing is, we had a couple of tough breaks or we could have done even better.
“The big thing is that we are making some strides now. I think it was a point of personal pride that they did not want to finish last again, and they played better and with more focus today.”
Mercer continued its run of strong play, posting a final round score of 293 to capture the league title and automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Bears best second place Kennesaw State by six shots overall. ETSU finished third, 10 shots behind the leaders.
Individually, Mercer junior Trey Rule was the only player in the field to finish the tournament under par. He closed with a one-under par 71 on Tuesday to finish with a one-under par score of 215. Mercer teammate James Beale, along with Kennesaw State teammates Teremoana Beaucousin and Austin Vick tied for second with a total score of two-over par 218.
Stetson sophomore Dustin Dingus finished with a final round score of 74, giving him a three-day total of 12-over par 228 to tie for 19th.
It was Dingus whose birdie on the final hole allowed the Hatters to secure eighth place, just two shots ahead of Northern Kentucky. Stetson finished with a three-day score of 927, while NKU finished with a 929 followed by Florida Gulf Coast with a 934.
The Hatters’ final score was 11 shots better than the team finished in the 2013 A-Sun Championship on the same course.
Dingus was not the only Stetson player to have his best day of the tournament in the final round. Sophomore Andrew Peterson turned in the low round of the tournament for the Hatters on Tuesday with a one-over par 73. He finished the tournament tied for 31st with a final score of 233.
Junior Matt Taylor also had his best round of the event on Tuesday, closing with a 75 to finish one shot behind Peterson in a tie for 33rd place at 234. Freshman Dirk Kuehler finished another shot back, tied for 35th, with a total score of 235.
Sophomore David Torres closed out the event with an 80 to finish at 244, good for 48th place.