Mariners surge to historic victory

From the The Brunswick News

Firing its lowest one-day score ever, the College of Coastal Georgia men's golf team leapfrogged four teams in Tuesday's final round and won the Chick-fil-A Collegiate Invitational in Rome by one shot.

Sophomore Hunter Cornelius paced the Mariners, finishing in a tie for the overall individual lead before coming up just short in a three-way playoff.

At Stonebridge Golf Club, Cornelius closed with a 4-under-par 68 to finish at 3-under 141. As a team, the Mariners shot 8-under 280 in Tuesday's final round -- the lowest 18-hole score in the history of the program.

They improved on Monday's first round at Coosa Country Club by 18 strokes and finished at 2-over 578, a shot ahead of first-round leader University of the Cumberlands. Cumberlands led the field by four strokes and Coastal by seven strokes after the opening round.

The field consisted of 24 teams, more than half of which from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, where Coastal Georgia's athletic teams are competing for the first season ever.

"We played lights out," said Coastal Georgia golf coach Mike Cook. "This is by far the biggest win in school history."

Coastal sophomore Allen Bradford also closed with a 68 and finished in fifth place overall with a 143. Junior Dylan Freeman shot 144 and finished sixth.

Junior Hunter Stuckey's 151 (76-75) rounded out Coastal's top four scores.

"The putter was working Monday, and the ball-striking was working Tuesday," Cornelius said of his rounds.

"I started making putts this week -- that was the biggest deal, that I finally executed what I was trying to do."

He said playing 18 holes on two separate courses was not a problem.

"Stonebridge was kind of different, but I think it's easier. It's a little bit more open than Coosa. You can miss it a little bit more."

Cook said he had a feeling his team was about to pull out the win when Freeman went to his final hole.

"We posted two 68s, and Dylan was 1-under playing in the last group," Cook said of the final round.

"As the scores were coming in, I knew we had to pick up eight strokes, and as it turned out, I figured we were going to tie or win. I didn't want Dylan to know, and sure enough, the guy he was playing with, from Cumberlands, had his putt lip out from 20 feet, and Dylan made a 10-footer. And I felt good when that putt went in."

Coastal's previous 18-hole best was a 281 in 2011.

Cook and his players struck out for Brunswick and home right after their victory.

"We got to leave in a good mood," Cornelius said of braving the 6-plus hour drive back to the campus.

Release Date: 10/11/2012
Source: The Brunswick News

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