The University of the Cumberlands (UC) Men’s Golf team continues to have a successful 2012 season. Last week, the Patriots earned a 2nd place finish at the Southeastern Kentucky Intercollegiate Tournament. This week, the Patriots were looking to snatch their 4th straight Mid-South Conference (MSC) Tournament Championship. UC came out determined and took the title in dominant fashion including the individual championship and some new school records in the process.
Day one was competitive for UC as they came out in front as the Patriots shot a 279 as a team, three shots ahead of Lindsey Wilson. The 279 broke the school record for team score for 18 holes. Aaron Watkins (Harlan, KY) had a share of the lead after day one shooting an impressive 68 (-3) in the first round. Niclas Rigbrandt (Nykoping, Sweden) trailed just behind Watkins as he finished day one shooting a 69 (-2). Alastair Tidcombe (Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada) followed as he shot a 1st round 70 (-1) to be just two shots off the lead. Fredrik Lindblom (Stockholm, Sweden) shot well during the first round ending the day with a 72 (+1). Matt Walton (Lancashire, United Kingdom) rounded out the team as he also shot a 72 (+1) on day one. Two individuals also participated for the Patriots in the MSC Tournament, Stuart Balcombe (Clevedon, United Kingdom) and Vince Drahman (Noblesville, IN). Balcombe shot a first round 76 (+5) while Drahman finished the day with a 79 (+8).
The second and final round was a tough set-up on Cattails GC but the Patriots took the challenge in stride with the best round ever shot by a Cumberlands team. The Patriots shot an impressive 269 on day two, 10 shots better than day one for a new school record. The two day total of 548 also breaks the old school record of 570 as the best two round total by any Cumberlands team by 22 strokes. The Patriots defeated the Blue Raiders of Lindsey Wilson, their closest competitor, by an impressive 26 strokes.
Watkins and Walton also made some school history tying the school record for lowest round shot ever by a Patriot as they both shot 65 on day two. Watkins ended the tournament with a 133 (-9) and the MSC Tournament Individual Title. Walton ended the tournament with a 137 (-5) and 2nd place. Rigbrandt shot a second round 70 to end the tournament with a 139 (-3) and tied for 4th place. Lindblom ended day two with a 69 to finish the tournament with a 141 (-1) and tied for 6th place. Tidcombe rounded out the team shooting a final round 76 to end at 146 (+4) and tied for 10th place. Balcombe, competing as an individual, shot a final round 73 to end at 149 (+7) and in 16th place. Drahman rounds out the players as he finished his final round with a 72 to end the tournament tied for 19th place with a 151 (+9).
Head Coach Chris Kraftick commented, “This was the best performance any of my teams have had since I’ve been here. This team is so talented and really hasn’t been playing to its potential this spring. So to break out in this type of record breaking effort was great to see. I’ve run out of compliments for Aaron. He is simply a star. This was a wonderful tournament for him. He not only shot nine under par (-9), but hit 34 of 36 greens in regulation and did a few things behind the scenes to help his teammates prepare mentally. It was also a great effort by Matt. He is so talented and I hope this week really boosts his confidence. Freddie and Niclas were very solid and I see both of their games rounding into form at the right time.”
The Patriots will be back in action on Monday April 9th and Tuesday April 10th as they travel to take part in the NAIA Classic at the Brickyard in Indianapolis, Indiana at Brickyard Crossing.
For more information on the Patriots men’s golf program along with other Patriot athletics, please visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com.