DESTIN, Fla.(WKYT) – Transylvania’s men’s golf team will have a chance to make history Friday in the final round of the 2013 NCAA Division III Championship at the Sandestin Golf Resort.
The Pioneers, seeking the school’s first NCAA National Championship, find themselves in the lead after third-round play at the Raven Course, a 6,854-yard par 71 test. Transy will begin play Friday at 8:30 a.m. with a two-shot lead over Texas Tyler.
The two teams were tied heading into third-round play and exchanged the lead throughout the day. The two distanced themselves from the rest of the field, however. Host Methodist is 11 back of the Pioneers and Illinois Wesleyan is another six strokes behind in fourth place. The rest of the top 10 include Emory, Claremont Mudd Scripps, La Verne, Wittenberg, Gustavus Adolphus, St. John Fisher, and St. John’s. The difference between first and 10th, though is 29 strokes.
Transylvania has never won a team national championship in any sport. Both the men’s basketball and men’s soccer teams have advanced to the round of eight and last year’s men’s golf team was the national runner-up.
“We have a chance to do something special,” said Transy head coach Brian Lane, who is also the men’s basketball coach. “I know we’ll have butterflies when we tee off tomorrow, but our guys our focused on getting the job done. This is what you play the game for and we are looking forward to accepting the challenge.”
Transy is at 20 over par after a 297 effort on Thursday. The Pioneers’ total score is 876. Texas Tyler had a third-day total of 299 and was at 878. Methodist’s total was 887 after shooting 302 on Thursday.
Individually for the Pioneers, sophomore Ben Fister is tied for fourth at three-over par 217. His one-over round of 72 was marred by a pair of bogeys on the final two holes, which prevented him from being in a tie for second. He is tied with teammate Clay Hinton, who carded a 76 Thursday.
Fister had two birdies on each nine while Hinton had three birdies on his card.
Jantzen Latham moved from 19th to a tie for 14th with a three over par 74 for a total of 221. Stephen Montgomery was tied for 40th-place after a 75 gave him a 227 total. Hunter Frazier recorded an 80 and is at 229.
The individual leader after three rounds is Brad Shigezawa of Mudd Scripps. He had a 69 for a 211 total, three under par and four clear of Cameron Button of Southwestern Buddy Hallman of Texas Tyler. The leader is the only participant par.
The field was cut to the top 15 teams for the final 36 holes. Transy, ranked No. 11 nationally heading into the event, finished second to Oglethorpe in last year’s championship. The Stormy Petrals did not make the cut this year.
The Championship initially featured 41 teams and 210 participants overall. Of the nation’s top 25 teams, 19 were in the field. The Pioneers are in the NCAA field for the seventh year in a row. Four of the top 25 teams are still alive, headed by No. 2 Methodist and No. 5 Emory.